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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Report: Ferndale Housing Commission's problems continue

Posted By on Tue, Dec 23, 2014 at 11:57 AM

The Ferndale Housing Commission's former director, Debra Wilson, recently resigned after the 52-year-old was arrested for allegedly breaking into apartments and stealing prescription drugs, but that's only the beginning of the commission's problems, according to a report from Oakland County One-Fifteen, an online news site. 

While Wilson's court battle plays out, Proxmire takes a deep look at the Housing Commission's background and finds "an atmosphere that allows problems to go unchecked and intentionally silences any complaints or questions." 



It is not just dollars and drugs that are at stake, but the safety, health and day to day living conditions of dozens of elderly, low income and disabled residents. These residents rely on the Commission to set the budget, oversee the administration, and protect their interests. Yet they are silenced by rules that punish those who speak up.

In addition to documented policies that expressly curb resident feedback, open Meetings Act violations public and resident involvement. Ignoring requests for public information makes outside accountability nearly impossible.

In the time since Wilson’s arrest the Commission’s website, www.ferndalehousing.com, went from a functioning source of information, to a scrubbed-clean landing page, to being disabled completely.

In spite of serious felony charges against a long-standing Director, the Commission has given no signs of further investigation into the administration, giving Wilson’s second in command, Emily Vickey, a scrutiny-free step into the top spot. The Commission also allowed Wilson to resign instead of firing her.

Recently, Proxmire notes, the commission raised a "huge red flag" when it passed a budget that was added "at the last minute with no time for review or reflection by Commission members themselves." 

Proxmire's deep-dive is an extremely-detailed, helpful explainer into an agency that, due to its legal separation and distinction from the Ferndale City Council, keeps it generally off the radar. Check out the entire piece here

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