County board members have been hearing from residents for the better part of a year about the Housing Authority of the County of DeKalb’s chronic refusal to follow the rules. The board must be tired of the complaints, because last week during their committee-of-the-whole meeting, they explained there’s not much they can do outside of taking our concerns under consideration as the time for appointing another housing authority commissioner approaches.
There was a question about removing housing authority commissioners that the explainers couldn’t answer. So I’ll take a shot at it.
While many of the housing authority’s activities are overseen by HUD, it’s state law that dictates the structure and membership of its board. The county board is the appointive body. The presiding officer, who in this case is the president and chair of the county board, appoints and reappoints housing authority commissioners with the approval of the county board. The presiding officer also can remove commissioners for cause.
Whenever it shall appear to the presiding officer having appointment authority that a commissioner of a Housing Authority is incompetent or guilty of neglect of duty or malfeasance, the presiding officer shall require such commissioner to appear before the presiding officer or his designee to show cause why he should not be removed from office…If after a hearing the presiding officer determines that a commissioner has been incompetent or has been guilty of neglect of duty or malfeasance, he shall remove such commissioner from the Authority within seven days, and there shall thereupon be deemed to be a vacancy of such office.Section 4, “Housing Authorities Act,” 310 ILCS 10
The statute doesn’t take that long to read and there’s nothing ambiguous about the county’s role — it can appoint and remove until it gets satisfactory performance.
County source: audio recording of the DeKalb County Committee of the Whole meeting, April 13, 2022. There’s a general explanation of appointments at about 34 minutes, and specifically about the housing authority about 36 minutes into the recording.