My plan for today’s post was to write about the primary that took place yesterday, but I was shocked to see the story in today’s Register about the Feds raiding the West Haven Housing Authority offices. So I’ll get to the primary in a minute.
It has been alleged that Executive Director Michael Siwek took $22,000 via a business credit card and profited by using his personal business to do Housing Authority repairs. Apparently the West Haven Housing Authority has been under surveillance for several months and these accusations are in the HUD report. The first thing that comes to my mind is how does this happen? The answer is that there has been no proper oversight of the West Haven Housing Authority for quite some time now. Whose fault is that do you think? Could it be Mayor Picard’s fault? He is supposed to be leading and managing our city. And are there any other organizations in our city that need better oversight? At the very least, I hope this embarrassing scandal prompts the mayor to take a good look around town.
The mayor is quoted in the Register saying “The Executive Director has announced his plan to retire at the end of the summer. I am now requesting the voluntary resignations from all the Commissioners so that we can move forward with a goal of greater oversight, management and accountability at the Housing Authority.” Way too little, way too late. I am curious why Siwek gets to retire, and was not fired? I also find it interesting that the Commissioners’ names are not mentioned in the Register article, nor in the mayor’s press release, and no one seems to want to say Siwek’s name either, they just refer to the “Executive Director.” Why is that? The commissioners’ names are Genevieve Canny, Theresa Sansone, Jasmine Nugent, Willie Holmes, and Adrienne Hurlburt. They all reside in West Haven. I have to laugh at the “goal of greater oversight . .” part of Mayor Picard’s quote. Since there clearly has been ZERO oversight, I think that any oversight would be an improvement.
I agree with former City Council Chair Ed O’Brien, and mayoral candidate in the upcoming November election, when he stated in the Register comments section online, “It actually took a federal law enforcement agency to raid the Housing Authority offices to motivate the mayor to do something about this? This is not leadership! If the raid never happened, would the mayor have ever put a stop to it? Oversight was and is never a priority to Mayor Picard, but this time he cannot say he didn’t know.”
So, what about that primary? I spoke with democratic registrar Michelle Hufcut and she said that there was only about a 25 percent voter turnout of registered democrats and republicans. Shameful. However, one positive thing to come out of the primary is that the residents of the 116th District got a choice of candidates. Dave Forsyth and Lou Esposito are just one vote apart (in favor of Esposito), so there will be a recount. I think that is saying the folks in Allingtown aren’t all that pleased these days with the incumbent.
Deb Evangeliste lost the race for democratic registrar by only 227 votes. Luckily for Patty Horvath, who will be the new democratic registrar come January, the mayor’s supporters in the 9th and 10th districts came out to vote. In the past few elections the numbers have been getting closer and closer and it seems like the mayor is losing some ground. You only have to read my previous posts to understand why that is happening.
The lucky winner of the primary contest announced in a previous post here in my blog (the person guessing closest to, without going over, the total number of primary voters, wins lunch with me) will be announced the week of August 27!