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Housing Authority to discuss bid-rigging allegations

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
The Rowan County Housing Authority will hold a special meeting today at noon to review allegations of bid rigging by fired employees.
The meeting will be in the Housing Authority office, 310 Long Meadow Drive (in the Southmark Business Park off U.S. 29).
Eric Beaver, chairman of the Housing Authority, said Tuesday the discussion of allegations will be in closed session.
The authority meeting comes following a request from Carl Ford, chairman of the Rowan County Board of Commissioners. One or more of four fired employees has contacted commissioners raising issues of improprieties and possible bid rigging. Ford said last week that if the Housing Authority didn’t deal with the issues, county commissioners would.
Beaver said he isn’t sure what they will discuss at today’s meeting. “Nobody has come to us with a bid rigging claim … we’ve had no one come before us and say investigate.”
Beaver said all of the bid sheets and documents are available for inspection. He noted that in some cases bids were opened during board meetings.
In other cases, bids were opened by Sara Potts, director, and reported to the board.
Over the past several months, the board has taken bids and approved contracts for replacement of 700 windows, mowing and financial services.
The board will open bids and award a contract today for maintenance.
“We always get multiple bids … we always following HUD ( Housing and Urban Development) guidelines,” he said.
Beaver said the board is willing to listen to the former employees adding “we prefer hard evidence.”
Beaver declined to specify why the employees were fired, citing the confidentiality of personnel matters.
He said all material relevant to the firings have been turned over to HUD’s regional office in Greensboro.
Two of the employees were in Las Vegas attending a Section 8 housing workshop mandated by HUD when they discovered they were being terminated ó their Housing Authority cell phones were cut off.
Beaver confirmed the phone incident may have occurred.
He noted that HUD always sets the training sessions and workshops at the “most expensive places,” and requires the local unit to pay the employee costs.

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