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Some Local Officials Criticize Patrick Housing Overhaul

BOSTON — Some local housing authority officials are attacking a plan laid out Thursday by Gov. Deval Patrick to consolidate their offices into state-run boards.

The governor’s plan would combine 240 housing authorities into six regional ones.

Richard Legow, the commissioner of the North Attleboro Housing Authority, said Patrick’s overhaul would create unneeded bureaucracy.

“The closer government is to the people, the better that government works,” Legow said.

But the governor said local governments would still keep some authority.

“Local communities will retain control over land use and significant redevelopment decisions, including siting decisions, change of use of an existing building or vacant lot, and tenant engagement,” Patrick said.

The governor says the move would save the state as much as $10 million a year.

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  • rockhauler

    i disagree that the closer the government is, the better it works. on the contrary, it can become more subject to small but influential forces, even in small towns where commissioners are elected by municipal ballot. housing authorities tend not to have broad appeal to the voter, and a vote for a friend or publicly recognized name is easy to do. little regard is given by the voter to policy positions, adequate oversight, or integrity that’s free of political influence. local housing authorities in small towns can be either a safe place for well-intentioned caring people or for political hacks seeking an entree into the big boys’ world or old tired pols. unfortunately, regionalization takes away the opportunity for the well-intentioned and replaces it with the politically connected, not necessarily the most intelligent or professional. on balance, it would be better to have better oversight by state authorities who keep a professional distance from the influence of the locals. gov. patrick needs to consider also that local people voted by ballot for these commissioners, and overturning the vote utterly disregards that authority.

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