BRADENTON -- The Bradenton Housing Authority has canceled its meeting for Thursday and will reconvene in December.
The housing authority's meeting was canceled Wednesday because of a lack of a quorum, interim executive director Darcy Branch told the Herald via email. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be at 8:30 a.m. Dec. 19, at the Bradenton Housing Authority office, 2002 9th Ave. E, she said.
The cancellation announcement comes the same day the Bradenton Herald reported that a proposed three-year contract for Branch was up for discussion Thursday, including a $121,680 annual salary.
When asked for comment, the housing authority attorney and Branch said the contract was a draft for discussion about the next steps for selecting a new director. But nothing in the commissioners' packet and agenda provide reason to interpret Branch's contract at anything more than face value.
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The housing authority's agenda listed a resolution for an employment contract for Branch, who has served as the interim executive director since September, when former director Wenston DeSue was fired because of an ongoing investigation by the federal Housing and Urban Development.
Attached to the agenda is a resolution for the commissioners to approve Branch's employment and a contract. But housing authority attorney Ric Gillmore insisted Tuesday that the contract is a draft and is intended to "spark conversation" on what the board wants to do regarding finding a new executive director. The employment dates are defined from Nov. 21, 2013, to Nov. 20, 2016.
"Regardless of what it says, it's a draft," Gillmore said, saying nothing has been negotiated. He said that the employment contract was not for Branch and was completed as a sample.
But a copy of the contract, specifically for Branch with complete details and terms of her position as executive director, is included in supporting documents with the board's agenda for the now-canceled meeting Thursday.
Branch's cover letter on her contract states: "It is with
great pleasure that I am submitting to you my employment contract."
The agenda doesn't indicate that the authority would be discussing in general what should be the next steps, and no supporting documents are provided advising the authority of its options.
It was not specified which board members could not attend the meeting Thursday. The seven-member board only has five members right now, which includes Chairman Napoleon Mills, Charles Grace, Rigo Rivera, Lois Gerber and Jahna Leinhauser.
One of the vacancies is for a resident representative who receives housing authority assistance. That representation is required, said Jerry Brown, spokesman for HUD, but he was unsure if there is a time limit for how long a vacancy has to be filled.
Minutes from the October meeting show that the commission wanted to inform the Resident Council that it needs representation on the board as well.
Charles Schelle, business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.