The Deputy Executive Director mentioned in Susan Ryan’s letter (below) is Tony Toran, a former city official and longtime Democratic Party higher-up. This and other carefully pre-scripted “surprises” occurred at last Monday’s New Albany Housing Authority meeting, but numerous reports of David Duggins’ escalating managerial incompetence have been coursing through the Green Mouse’s grapevine for weeks.
Once again: I think Duggins was moved to the NAHA not by design, but necessity. Something happened to make Dugout’s position at redevelopment untenable, and he needed a fatter pay packet, and so Gahan shifted him to the NAHA. Now Toran is brought aboard to do Duggins’ job, while Gahan looks elsewhere for a new bag man (I’m getting to that).
ON THE AVENUES: Using Deaf Gahan’s dullest razor, we race straight to the bottom of his hurried NAHA putsch launch.
From the very start, Jeff Gahan’s putsch against the NAHA has been about grabbing the housing authority’s acreage for the sort of real estate developments that feed campaign funds rather than the needs of ordinary people.
Gahan also has been directing dog whistles to his not-so-democratic “traditional” Democratic Party supporters. To be succinct, references to “the project” always have been intended to mean not the buildings, but African-American (and other minorities) living in them.
When a Democrat whispers “if only we could do something about the projects,” the inference is crystal clear, and has been since Warren Nash dozed though his term as mayor. Republicans? They’re perfectly content to let so-called Democrats do their heavy lifting. It’s a symbiotic relationship, if highly repellent.
As Ryan correctly points out, Duggins, who was no more prepared than a feral neighborhood cat to inherit Bob Lane’s salary at NAHA, much less grasp Lane’s duties — and is surrounded by a similarly useless and clueless governing board of bootlicking sycophants appointed by Gahan — needed a bailout.
Toran is a trustworthy Democratic foot soldier, and he’s African-American, this intended by Gahan as reassurance to black voters who by all rights should (and might yet) desert His Deafness in droves in 2019. Rehabbing the former Baity Funeral Home is another such scrap, albeit a relatively meek one.
Welcome to New Gahania, where we answer to the anchor.
If the rumors are true and legendary Municipal Concealment Attorney (and Democratic Party grandee) Shane Gibson takes over Duggins’ former bailiwick as bag man at redevelopment (and as titular economic development director), pretty soon there’ll be so few people involved in New Albany civic decision-making that all of it can be transacted by Gahan, Gibson and Adam Dickey in the back seat of a limo, while Warren drives and Duggins is sent off in his brand new NAHA vehicle to pick up a few cases of ice cold Michelob ULTRA Lime Cactus.
Now THAT’s what I call gesture politics, although the specific gesture I have in mind probably wouldn’t meet with Adam’s approval. Okay, boys and girls, all together now: “SHOW US YOUR BEAKS” — and take it away, Susan Ryan.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: More surprises at NAHA meeting, by Susan Ryan (Hanson Christian Chronicle)
The New Albany Housing Authority (NAHA) meetings always have a surprise and the most recent one was no surprise. We learned that the Interim Executive Director is having difficulty doing the job that Bob Lane did so effortlessly for 17 years. While the Family Self-Sufficiency program is having to cut staff, Mr. Duggins requested that the Board approve a new position for a Deputy Executive Director, and of course the board all approved and refused to consider one board member’s request that they first examine the overall budget. The position description reads exactly like an Executive Director’s job which I guess means that now Mr. Duggins’ major responsibility will be to make sure the board approves what the Mayor wants, and represent NAHA to the HUD authorities.
In other news, the board meeting was moved from 5:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. to accommodate staff, and make it difficult if not impossible for working citizens to attend and monitor the board meetings. Nothing like transparency.
We need a reset button. We need to bring Bob Lane back and be serious about building a cooperative working relationship between the city and the NAHA. We need an Executive Director who respects the tenants in public housing and does not castigate them as “those poor who can take their vouchers and find a different city to live in.” Enough is enough.