Spann resigns from city
MORGAN CITY, La. — Morgan City Housing Authority executive director Charles Spann resigned from his post at the troubled agency Tuesday afternoon.
Spann submitted his written resignation, effective immediately, about 4 p.m., to Victory Ho, the board of commissioners’ chairman for the housing authority.
“It is sad to end my 46 years public housing management career in such a negative way,” Spann wrote to the board in his resignation letter.
The director has been under scrutiny since a report in the Morgan City Daily Review that an audit revealed that bonuses of nearly $137,000 above what was allowed were distributed to four housing authority office workers, including Spann.
The Legislative Auditors’ report prepared by Kolder, Champagne, Slaven & Company pointed out 11 findings that covered problems in the payments and in record keeping and building maintenance.
The board of commissioners had scheduled a meeting at 5:30 p.m. today to discuss Spann’s contract that had expired May 22. The board will still hold the meeting at 336 Wren St., but now to discuss an interim replacement.
Spann said Tuesday morning he had not made a decision on asking the board to renew his contract.
Spann apologized to the board, staff and residents for not watching over all agency operations entrusted to him. He took “full responsibility” for what he called the recent failures that came out in the 2012 fiscal year audit of the housing authority.
“I should have been focusing on more than just the renovations and demolition of the 186 vacant lots,” Spann said in his resignation. He regretted that “those oversights on my part will be a topic of conversation much longer than the more than 100 units … renovated, repaired and placed back on the rental market.”
Ho said that he has an idea of what he will recommend to his fellow commissioners regarding how to manage the housing authority in the aftermath of the resignation. Ho said it would not be appropriate to discuss those recommendations before the board meets this afternoon.
Spann was hired in 2007 with a salary at the time reported to be $65,000. His last contract called for an $85,000 annual salary.
With the resignation of the executive director, the housing authority has Sandra Greene and Diana Pace staffing the office. Former office worker, Tori Johnson, resigned weeks ago, according to Spann.
Greene, the public housing manager, had served as the housing authority’s interim director at the time that Spann was chosen from a list of 13 applicants in 2007. According to the audit report, her annual salary is $57,830, Pace is paid $48,131 and Johnson’s salary was $37,881.
The audit report revealed Greene was paid a bonus totaling about $56,000, Pace’s bonus was $42,000 and Johnson received a $34,000 bonus during the 2012 fiscal year.
There has not been a definite explanation of how the overpayment of bonuses would be recovered. Spann said Tuesday that he would pay back the $22,000 bonus he received. He said the others realized they had to repay any bonuses that exceeded the 10 percent of base salary allowed by the state civil service commission.
“I am going to do everything in my power to see to it that that money gets returned,” Ho said Tuesday.