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Brooksville housing leader quits

By DAN DEWITT
Published April 19, 2007


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BROOKSVILLE - Less than five months after the suspension of the Brooksville Housing Authority's executive director, her temporary replacement has resigned from the job, saying it was consuming too much of his time.

"Based on discussions with Mr. Donnie Singer, he feels that he should be spending more time with his duties at the Hernando County Housing Authority," Paul Sullivan, chairman of the county agency's board, wrote in a letter to the city Housing Authority on April 12.

Singer, executive director of the county Housing Authority, had agreed in December to assume that job with the Brooksville agency. But his contract, approved by the county authority's board, called for him to work no more than 20 hours per week.

The contract also called for him to work six months and to give the Brooksville authority at least 45 days' notice. Sullivan requested in his letter, which was sent last week, that the period be shortened to 15 days.

"I'd told (Singer), the sooner you can get out of that mess the better," Sullivan said.

Among the problems that have consumed Singer's time:

- An electrician found dangerous deficiencies in the wiring at one of the city Housing Authority's apartment complexes. Singer had been trying to find money to fix the problem.

- Also, Sullivan said, when Singer told him he wanted out of the arrangement, he said Brooksville Housing Authority board members had interfered with his ability to do his job.

Singer declined to elaborate on any other reasons for leaving. "My position is in (Sullivan's) letter," he said.

Gertrude Mobley, chairwoman of the Brooksville authority, granted the request for an early termination in a letter she sent to Sullivan on Wednesday, saying the effective date of his termination will be April 27.

Because the Brooksville authority's executive director, Betty Trent, was suspended indefinitely by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in December, the agency will be without a leader.

The board also has made no plans to find one, said Paul Boston, a city Housing Authority board member, at a meeting last week with the City Council.

Another board member, Donnamaria Lopez, said the board had not acted because of uncertainty about Trent's legal future. Trent is scheduled for trial on accusations of stealing federal funds.

"If she is found innocent, she has the option of coming back or not coming back," Lopez said.

Joe Ann Bennett, the authority's former program manager, was indicted with Trent in November and has pleaded guilty to charges of defrauding the federal government. Bennett is awaiting sentencing.

Dan DeWitt can be reached at dewitt@sptimes.com or (352) 754-6116.

[Last modified April 18, 2007, 21:05:22]


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