Hopkins removes housing chair Failure to reappoint Carroll criticized

replacement named

August 02, 1996|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

Mayor Alfred A. Hopkins has rejected the reappointment of longtime community activist Marita Carroll for a third term as chairwoman of the city Housing Authority, surprising many Annapolis officials.

Instead, Hopkins quietly named and swore in Spa Cove Apartments manager Peggy Waters-Moore to the position Wednesday -- setting off a flood of criticism from officials who characterized the removal of Carroll as "tragic."

Carroll, whose eight-year service as chairwoman ended officially Wednesday, was not aware of her ouster until yesterday morning.

"It was a surprise, but I guess I should not have been surprised because he has made decisions recently that have somewhat startled people," said Carroll, a native of Eastport and former schoolteacher who has logged more than 50 years of public service in Maryland. "This move he has made is no different."

The removal of Carroll, who is well respected in the community, will have serious repercussions, said Alderman Carl O. Snowden, a Ward 5 Democrat who is expected to run for mayor next year.

"This is just another example of the mayor making a serious misstep," Snowden said. "Of all the persons the mayor could have slighted he will find that the entire community will feel insulted by the way he treated Ms. Carroll."

Carroll, 74, has been credited with playing a major role in FTC restoring confidence after Arthur G. Strissel Jr., the former executive director of the housing authority, was convicted in 1988 of fraud, bid-rigging and taking kickbacks.

Former Mayor Roger "Pip" Moyer, now deputy director of the housing authority, agreed with Snowden.

"We knew it was up in the air, but we had no idea she would not be reappointed," said Moyer, who blamed Hopkins' decision on political patronage. "She is legendary in the civil rights movement, and she has spent a lifetime serving poor people. This is going to come as a shock to the people in the community.

"It's a tragedy, believe me, for the housing authority, for the city of Annapolis and for race relations," Moyer said. "It's a great disappointment to me."

Talk of Carroll being removed had been circulating for some time, officials say. A 500-signature petition started by a minister was presented to Hopkins at a council meeting July 8 in an effort to persuade him to keep her.

At that meeting, Hopkins promised a group of residents and public officials that he would keep Carroll until the next council meeting in September, Snowden said.

Few knew, however, that Hopkins had already made a move to replace Carroll. Waters-Moore said yesterday that Hopkins approached her a month ago to take the position.

Although Hopkins did not return repeated telephone calls yesterday, he released a statement praising Waters-Moore for her extensive experience as property manager of several large housing complexes from Florida to Maryland.

"In appointing Ms. Waters-Moore, I am sending a clear and unmistakable message that I intend to bring about positive change in the area of public housing within our city," said Hopkins, who also commended Carroll.

"I also wish to recognize and commend the outstanding service of Ms. Marita Carroll who has tirelessly served this city," Hopkins said. "She has served at a time when her guidance, patience and persistence contributed to calming the troubled waters which were storming over the Annapolis Housing Authority. I congratulate her for her accomplishments and wish her well."

Pub Date: 8/02/96

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