La Joya Housing Authority Board voids termination of executive director

Any action taken at the La Joya Housing Authority Board meeting Wednesday is void– thats including the termination of its executive director.

By a unanimous vote, the board moved forward with firing Frances Salinas, the daughter of Mayor Fito Salinas.

“They had received communication from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and concerns from HUD that made them believe that maybe the management was not going in the direction that they wanted the housing authority to go, said Cristi LaJeunesse, Program Director of the La Joya Housing Authority.

LaJeunesse added that part of the concerns were brought to light by an on-site review that was conducted in April, which was triggered following the low physical score of the property where the agency received 12 out of 40 points.

CBS 4 requested open records from the housing authority and found that following the on-site review, the HUD requested for a proposed recovery plan, which HUD never received.

“I really think– I know that this is political retaliation, said Mayor Salinas. Its a political thing, my daughter Frances is running for the school board against three members that are really involved in politics.”

Vice -chair of the La Joya Housing Authority Board, Sylvia Garces-Valdez, who will make a year on the board this December, said this was not the case as she was appointed by the mayor to make these types of decisions.

“Once we received the letter stating the physical and financial needs that our entity had, thats what led us to our decision on Oct. 10, said Garces-Valdez. So being a political retaliation has nothing to do with it. He did trust us at the beginning.”

Although the housing authority was supposed to have an emergency meeting Thursday, it was canceled due to concerns addressed by Frances and the mayor.

Frances gave her father a letter regarding the agency violating the Open Meetings Act as the meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 10 was not posted 72 hours prior to the meeting. Francis mentioned that she was pressured to post it.

Mayor Salinas also gave a letter to the housing authority expressing his concerns as the emergency meeting was also a violation.

The housing authority will continue its operations, but they said they had called for an emergency meeting to protect the agencys financial assets.

“Just want to make sure no monies moved around bank accounts or that whatever money is there, is there and maintained, said LaJeunesse.

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Posted in Salinas