Housing director to leave post Greene quits as board moves to fire him

Vote is 4-1

Alderman who led ouster effort 'extremely happy'

November 21, 1996|By Dan Thanh Dang | Dan Thanh Dang,SUN STAFF

Harold S. Greene has been ousted as executive director of the Annapolis Housing Authority, and the man who engineered it, Alderman Wayne Turner, is "extremely happy."

"It's been a pet project of mine for a long time now," Turner said yesterday.

The Ward 6 Republican succeeded in the past several years in adding to the authority's board two members opposed to Greene, and he pressured the others until they voted 4-1 Monday to ask for Greene's resignation.

"While I think [Greene] is an honorable man, I do not think he is capable of handling the massive function needed to run such an important agency," said Turner, who has been an outspoken critic of Greene's administration for years.

Turner said there were four major complaints against Greene: That he failed to plan properly and to provide resources to meet the majority of residential needs.

That he failed to correct deficiencies in a timely manner and in priority of need.

That he failed to develop trust with the board.

That he failed to develop adequate written operational procedures for the Housing Authority staff and related agencies.

Board Chairwoman Marita Carroll, who was Greene's lone supporter, said other members of the commission "felt that his performance was unsatisfactory."

Greene, who oversees 10 public housing complexes with about 5,000 tenants, received a satisfactory job evaluation in April, she said. If his performance did not meet the board's standards, "he should have been put on probation and given a chance to improve," she said.

"He was never told he was performing badly," Carroll said.

Turner said the April evaluation "was a sham."

"I've been receiving complaints from residents for seven years now," he said. "Mr. Greene is incapable of comprehending what is needed to move into the 21st century in regards to job training, day care and other programs needed to help our residents."

Greene took over the agency after Arthur G. Strissel Jr. was convicted of fraud, bid-rigging and taking kickbacks. Greene has been credited by city officials with turning the agency around in his first four years.

"This was a deteriorated, bankrupt agency when I got here, and since then I've brought it up to one of the best run in the state," Greene said yesterday.

He declined to discuss the details behind his resignation but said there was friction with the board.

"We've had some recent board changes, and so we've had differing views," said Greene, who will officially step down Dec. 1. "I had an excellent relationship with my staff and most of the other agencies around the city.

Deputy Director Roger W. "Pip" Moyer will be the acting administrator until a Greene's successor is hired, commissioners said.

The moves that led to his resignation began in August, when apartment manager Peggy Waters-Moore, an opponent of Greene, was appointed to the board with Turner's support, sources said.

A short time later, the board began discussing replacing Greene. Monday, the board voted in a closed meeting to fire him. But Greene beat them to the punch, resigning before board members could formally notify him of the vote. Details of his severance package were being ironed out yesterday.

Some expressed outrage over the effort to remove Greene, a New York native they credited with restoring the image of a scandal-ridden agency.

"There's a power play being worked over on him and Ms. !B Carroll," said Rufus S. Abernethy, who was a Housing Authority commissioner from 1990 to 1993. "There was severe antagonism on the part of new commissioners who forced him into resigning."

Commissioner Mary L. Pontius, the other Greene opponent appointed with Turner's support, denied any conspiracy to oust Greene.

"It was by mutual agreement that he resign," Pontius said. "It was not a forced agreement. I know of no conspiracy. He has been here for almost eight years, and we certainly wish him well."

Pontius said there was "a need to improve the agency's accountability and efficiency" and that "the board's objectives are providing the best possible housing in the city of Annapolis."

Pub Date: 11/21/96

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