Hempstead mayor wants housing board changes

Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall attends the Stop the

Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall attends the Stop the Violence rally held outside Village Hall. (Sept. 29, 2012) (Credit: Steven Sunshine)

Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall Sr. has called for the resignation of the chairman of the village's housing authority board and one of its commissioners, saying the troubled agency needs a "fresh start."

Cornell Bozier, the chairman, said Friday he has resigned, but said it was because he has moved out of Hempstead, not because of Hall's request.

Gilford Finch, a member of the board of commissioners that runs the authority, said he has refused Hall's call for resignation. Hall said he will try to remove Finch through legal channels.

Hall asked the pair to resign on Wednesday, less than a week after federal investigators visited the housing authority's office seeking financial records.

Hall said the housing authority needs a change in leadership in the wake of several years of financial turmoil. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development recently designated the housing authority as "troubled" and is monitoring its management, a HUD spokesman has said.

"We just want a new start in the housing authority," said Hall, when asked why he had requested the two resignations.

Bozier declined to talk about the housing authority's finances or his role in the agency's troubles.

Hall appoints five members of the authority's seven-member board. However, the board only had six members -- four of whom were Hall appointees, including Bozier and Finch -- before Bozier's resignation.

Hall said he kept one of his other appointees, Rodney Morrow, on the board because Morrow's experience as a business owner "might be an asset to the board." His other appointee, civic leader Max Rodriguez, just joined this month, he said.

Bozier said he resigned solely because he moved out of Hempstead a month ago, to a location he declined to disclose. He added that he hopes the housing authority "can get where it needs to be."

Finch declined to comment other than to say he has no intention to resign.

Rodriguez declined to comment. Attempts to contact Morrow and the other commissioners, Richard Stockdale and Rebecca Hogue, were not successful.

Attempts to contact housing authority executive director Stacey Cuffey-Stackhouse were not successful.

HUD spokesman Adam Glantz said the "responsibility for appointment and renewal of board members rests solely" with Hall.

With Aisha Al-Muslim

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