JONESBORO — A hearing has been scheduled to determine whether a member of the Housing Authority of Clayton County should be removed.
The hearing is set for Sept. 21 with the purpose of deciding whether Michael Bryant, Housing Authority chairman and owner of Bryant’s Construction Group, should be removed from office for neglect of duty and misconduct.
The Board of Commissioners will hear evidence on the following allegations against Bryant:
♦ Bryant’s failure to respond to a request for information whether he had contacted an insurance company to determine if coverage was available to cover the expense of a lawsuit filed against the Housing Authority of Clayton County (“Authority”) and where the Authority expended funds for legal expenses which may have been covered by insurance;
♦ Bryant’s failure to respond to a request why he provided incorrect information on an insurance renewal application, which may have jeopardized the ability of the Authority to obtain insurance coverage in the future;
♦ Bryant’s recusal on a vote at the Aug. 3, 2020, Authority meeting to hire a building contractor to do work at the Authority without providing a reason;
♦ Bryant’s affirmative vote in favor of a resolution at the Aug. 25, 2020 Authority meeting to award the contract to the building contractor he recused himself from voting on at the Aug. 3, 2020 meeting;
♦ Bryant’s application for a permit to do work on the Authority’s office building in the name of Bryant Construction Group without authorization from the Authority Board;
♦ Bryant’s representation to the city of Forest Park on an inspection form that Bryant Construction Group had performed work on the Authority’s office as opposed to the approved vendor;
♦ Bryant’s signature on a check for reimbursement of expenditures made by Bryant Construction Group for expenses related to work performed by another vendor;
♦ Bryant’s receipt of invoices from the approved vendor in the name of Bryant Construction Group for work performed for the Authority; and
♦ the authorization of checks expended by the Authority for invoices directed to Bryant Construction Group.
It will be up to the Board of Commissioners as to whether the allegations made against Bryant rise to the level of misconduct and removal. Commission members said they would like to have an opinion from a third party such as an auditor before making any decision.
Board Chair Jeff Turner said the issues should be considered by someone other than the board prior to the hearing. However, County Attorney Charles Reed explained the Board of Commissioners needed to follow through with a hearing first.
“Once this board hears the information provided, you have the authority to say this is not enough to make a final decision,” Reed said. At that time, he explained, the board can call in a third party to review the case prior to issuing a final decision.
Commissioner Felicia Franklin said she would like to see an audit conducted and a get a “professional opinion” before making a decision. Turner agreed.
“For me an audit is justified,” he said.
“It behooves us to hear the other side of the story and let the person speak,” said Commissioner Gail Hambrick said, “It is up to us to at least hear what is alleged to have happened.”
The Board of Commissioners voted 3-1 to move forward with a hearing. Board Chair Jeff Turner opposed the measure during the Sept. 7 BOC meeting.
The Housing Authority of Clayton County was created in 1982 by the Board of Commissioners to act as a financial conduit providing tax exempt financing for developers looking to construct or rehab multifamily housing and provide quality, affordable housing for county residents.
The HACC is governed by a five-member board. Two members are selected by the BOC, two by the Board of Education and one jointly by the BOC chair and superintendent of Clayton County schools.
To learn more about the HACC, visit www.housingauthorityclayton.com. To see rules governing the Housing Authority and county board’s, visit https://tinyurl.com/364azze6 or https://tinyurl.com/bpw9d7p8.