A complaint caused the 2016-2017 Civil Grand Jury to once again investigate the Housing Authority of the County of San Joaquin. The Grand Jury has investigated this agency through initial and follow-up investigations nine of the past 16 years. This year’s findings and recommendations are based on a year-long investigation that included witness interviews, tours of various facilities and the review of hundreds of pages of documents.

There is no written procedure or succession policy for the replacement of executive positions at the Housing Authority. In the past, this has caused severe disruption. It is recommended the Housing Authority develop, adopt and implement a succession plan for executive positions.

The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors selects commissioners to serve on the Housing Authority Board. The process for selecting commissioners could be improved if the full San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors interviewed the candidates for commission vacancies. It is also recommended that the Board of Supervisors obtain a commitment from each candidate to attend pertinent training.

Communication between the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners and the current Executive Director has improved, resulting in less confusion between leadership and staff. An aggressive approach by the agency has resulted in the submission of a grant application to begin the process of Sierra Vista Homes redevelopment. As a result of successful strategies, the Housing Authority has recently received an award from HUD for its Housing Choice Voucher Program (formerly Section 8).

The Housing Authority has made important improvements and appears to be on a successful trajectory. It is important the Housing Authority continues to move toward reaching the goal of providing affordable housing for residents most in need. The citizens of San Joaquin County deserve no less.

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