Newark Housing Authority's executive director holds ground amid controversy

Recent office renovations and the announcement of layoffs at the Newark Housing Authority has some tenants questioning the authoritys spending practices. However, the housing authoritys executive director is holding his ground in the wake of this controversy.

During the past two years, the housing authority has spent close to $1 million on a new boardroom, new carpeting and a new high-end television monitor. Executive Director Harold Lucas claims the renovations were necessary. Lucas also says the federal government cut the amount of money given to the authority and says the upcoming layoffs are necessary with his budget constraints.

Some tenants feel the money should be spent on fixing up apartment buildings that are plagued with insects and staircases smelling of urine. Lucas says there are approximately 2,000 buildings that need to be replaced, but admits that could take about a decade.

Officials from the housing authority maintain that the money used for salaries, and the money used for equipment and renovations come out of two separate budgets. They say they are not allowed to exchange funds between the two.

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