FOREST PARK Wade Starr was hired to run the Housing Authority of Clayton County Wednesday as members of the authority’s Board of Commissioners argued over whether they were moving too fast to name a new executive director.
The board voted 3-2 to hire Starr as executive director for three years at $70,000 per year, with new board members Michael Bryant and Karen Linnear protesting the haste in moving the hire forward. This was the first meeting for the new members. They tried to get the issue tabled, but were out voted by the other board members.
“We can’t make a well-informed decision on something we got today,” Bryant argued. “We need time to discuss this.”
Additionally, at the board’s last meeting, it agreed to only give Starr a one-year interim contract and to put together a committee to come up with search criteria for a permanent director. Board attorney George Glaze, sitting in for son and law partner, Kirby Glaze, protested the move on the basis that he wasn’t informed about it before the meeting.
Starr said he did not consult with the housing authority’s attorneys before having his employment contract drafted.
“I’ve worked with some lawyers, I’ve come forward with a proposal and I’m asking that you approve it,” Starr said.
Under the terms of the contract, Starr gets two weeks of vacation with a third week available starting next year, two weeks of paid sick leave, a $150 per month mileage reimbursement, professional membership dues paid for by the authority and money to obtain management executive certification. He can also be held “harmless” in all liability and tort claims filed against the authority because of his actions.
His salary increases to $77,000 per year if renewed for a second three-year term.
Glaze also argued with Starr about whether the terms of his contract should be discussed in an open or closed-door meeting.
“Everything we’re talking about now, we can talk about in executive session,” Starr told the board.
Glaze responded, “But you don’t have to.”
But, the quick move to hire Starr wasn’t the only surprise of the night. The board then voted 4-1 to fire Kirby Glaze and the lawfirm he and his father run as its legal counsel. They replaced them with former Forest Park attorneys Robert Mack and Joe Harris — even though everyone on the board said Kirby Glaze was doing a good job representing the authority.
Mack wrote Starr’s Housing Authority employment contract, said George Glaze.
“I find it extremely strange that I got a different meeting package than most of you,” George Glaze said. “It seems to me there was a decision made before we got here.”
Linnear voted in favor of the attorney change, but she added that she really wanted to abstain. She agreed to vote in favor of it while complaining that voting against it wouldn’t have made a difference.
“My vote doesn’t count,” Linnear said. “It hasn’t counted all night.”