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McGlynn urges new era at troubled Medford Housing Authority

Posted by Matt Byrne  May 18, 2012 03:00 PM

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Mayor Michael J. McGlynn Friday urged a fresh start for the troubled Medford Housing Authority, two days after its former chief, Robert Covelle, resigned amid suggestions of favoritism and mismanagement.

“The news of Mr. Covelle’s resignation signals the end of a difficult chapter for the Medford Housing Authority," McGlynn said in the statement, issued by the city's attorney. "Clearly it is time to move forward."

For his resignation and an agreement from Covelle not to sue the authority for wrongful termination, the Housing Authority paid him $31,500 in severance, equal to three months' pay of his $126,000-a-year contract, which had 25 months left, the Globe reported.

In the last three weeks, Covelle had stood up to a chorus of officials who called for his ouster or condemned his conduct, including Governor Deval Patrick, the state's top housing official, and McGlynn.

"I am hopeful that the decision of the Housing Authority to enter into this Agreement will allow it to refocus its attention on its mission of serving its residents," McGlynn said.

A Housing Authority board member told the Globe Wednesday that during negotiations with Covelle over his resignation, Covelle initially sought 25 months' pay, more than $250,000, but some on the board "didn't want to give him anything."

McGlynn said the authority must now turn its attention to addressing the lingering federal audit, which surfaced in April and identified millions in possible over-payments on rent for subsidized housing, and nearly $1.4 million paid by the authority for work performed without contracts.

"I am confident that the Authority will be revitalized as it engages in a search for a new director," the mayor said.

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