Almost nothing happens at AHA board meeting

By Maria Saporta

Going to Atlanta Housing Authority board meeting can be surreal.

After having not met since Jan. 5 and despite having several lingering thorny issues (see previous post) on its plate, the AHA board met Wednesday as though nothing was out of the ordinary.

For starters, the chairman — Dan Halpern — was on vacation. And only four of the seven board members were present — enough for a quorum.

The board went through a non-eventful agenda. The one item that could have been controversial was a resolution authorizing the commissioners to seek professional services of a law firm to provide legal services to the board regarding corporate governance and ethics matters to assist the board with its fiduciary duties and responsibilities, and other related matters.”

Former AHA Chairman Cecil Phillips asked why the board was seeking these services. And AHA’s legal counsel said it had been requested by Halpern.

AHA President and CEO Renee Glover suggested that the board could request a “task order” as part of the resolution. Phillips agreed to that amendment, and the resolution passed.

The most animated part of the meeting was when a request was made to amend a contract with Integral Development LLC to cover costs relating to extraordinary site conditions at the former site of University Homes.

Developers found an abandoned brick sewer line that had not been on any of the city’s maps and probably had been installed in the 1890s. A photo of the pipe showed the skilled labor that existed more than 100 years ago. Apparently the pipe had caused water to leak, making the soil unstable for new construction.

Shortly after, the AHA board adjourned the meeting — without addressing any of the serious governance issues that exist.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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