By William Holloman
Action taken by the Mount Olive Town Board of Commissioners after a closed meeting last week abolishes the Mount Olive Housing Authority and directs action to reorganize its board of directors. The abolishment is effective on February 13.
The decision came after the board, in routine session, went behind closed doors for about an hour, returned, and unanimously approved the change.
Town officials, including Town Manager Charles Brown, said any further comments about the action will have to come from the town’s attorney because of potential litigation.
Attorney Carroll Turner issued a press release the day after the board’s decision saying, “The board adopted a resolution that abolishes the housing authority, effective on February 13, 2018. The Commissioners deemed it in the best interest of the citizens of Mount Olive and in the best interest of those in need of safe and sanitary public housing to address those needs through an alternative organization.
“During the next 90 days, the Town of Mount Olive will be organizing another corporate entity to effectively direct the needs of our current housing authority residents, the citizens of Mount Olive, and the surrounding area.
“This action by the town should not be viewed as any criticism of the current staff or housing authority board. The Town thanks them for their service and looks forward to a smooth transition,” Turner added.
While officials will not comment, the Tribune has learned there have been communication issues from time to time between the housing authority and the town.
The housing authority was formed in 1969 and its five-member board is appointed by the mayor. Bylaws, town officials said, require the authority to provide the mayor and town board with an annual financial report.
The approved change will have no impact over housing authority operations for the next 90 days as far as residents are concerned.
Authority Director Eddie Wells said he was shocked by the board action and would rather not make a public response until he has had time to review the resolution adopted by the board. He did say he has not been aware of any issues with the town.
The board met in a delayed monthly session on Tuesday of last week, and Wells was not in his office on Wednesday, the next day. He officially received a copy of the resolution of the board’s action on Thursday morning.