The NYCHA Spending Saga Continues as Bloomberg Brings Aid to Agency


On Wednesday, the New York City Housing Authority released a consulting report done by the Boston Consulting Group that painted an ugly picture of what goes on in the largest public housing agency in the country. It was your typical bureaucratic clusterfuck – backlogs, overcharged items, the whole nine yards. For what the NYCHA oversees, it made the agency look like an amateur in comparison to other cities’ housing agencies.

And it pissed a bunch of people off – our fellow Voice scribe Candace Wheeler reported on the City Council oversight meeting concerning the fuss.

The dominoes continued to fall Thursday, as the Daily News investigation into what exactly was going on hit the press, citing the overpaid salaries of executives there, especially President John Rhea. This led to Mayor Bloomberg’s announcement that two top executives would be replaced by two volunteers, one of whom actually lives in one of the buildings. The step forward marked another chapter in the chronicles of the Hozziner’s drama with the NYCHA; one that has become a looming problem throughout his tenure.

But, this morning, it has been reported that the Bloomberg is installing yet another measure to continue efforts to stifle the drama. In his weekly radio address, he announced that he would be outsourcing some of the agency’s jobs to other City departments to lighten the load off an agency that apparently cannot handle itself.

The main problem at hand right now, however, is the cut in funds from Washington – as Congress finds itself strapped for cash, grants to cities for public housing have been put on the chopping block. But, to many City Hall critics, this doesn’t explain why John Rhea is arguing that $50 million in the budget was spent on installing security systems in 85 buildings.

For this reason, Bloomberg is assigning the daycare and senior programs that the NYCHA prides itself on to other departments. In his address, he mentioned the dynamic between shitty management and the cut in ties with the federal government:

“All these buildings are old so maintenance costs keep going up. But at the same time, while the costs go up, the federal government keeps cutting us back. It’s an enormous problem and we’re struggling every day to find ways to do it.”

Regardless, the story here is another log in the history of the Great Recession’s impact on America’s cities – as our elected officials salvage cash flow, the real-time effect is seen more so on the streets than in the halls of Congress. And the NYCHA is a prime example of just how bad that municipal problem can get.