Ex-housing chairman replaced on board
Morgan City Mayor Frank "Boo" Grizzaffi appointed Michael Giroir to the Housing Authority Board during Tuesday's council meeting. The council approved the appointment. (The Daily Review/Zachary Fitzgerald)
Morgan City officials have replaced the ex-housing authority chairman on the board with someone who spent his early years living in Brownell Homes and says he wants to be a voice for those who live in public housing.
Mayor Frank “Boo” Grizzaffi talked with Housing Authority Executive Director Clarence Robinson and decided to quickly replace former Housing Authority Board Chairman Victory Ho on the board, he said.
Ho resigned from the board Monday after he was arrested with two others Thursday on multiple drug charges. St. Mary Parish Sheriff’s Office investigators searched a business and home in Morgan City and located synthetic urine, marijuana, subscription pills, Subutex pills and drug paraphernalia items during the searches, Sheriff Mark Hebert said. The sheriff’s office also seized $27,000 in cash and an SUV during the investigation.
On Tuesday, the City Council unanimously approved Grizzaffi’s appointment of Michael Giroir to the housing authority board. Giroir lived in Brownell Homes, which the authority operates, until he was about 9 years old.
“We wanted somebody that is qualified, experienced both sides. And I think we got the right guy,” Grizzaffi said
Giroir, 45, said he under-stands the issues people go through living in public housing. “I want to be a voice for the people in there.”
He works for the St. Mary Parish School District as a physical education teacher in the special education department. Some of the kids he works with live in Brownell Homes.
Giroir wants to work closely with the other board members to “get the housing authority running at its best,” he said.
Giroir has the perspective of growing up in the housing authority, getting his education and now being able to give back to the community as a board member, Grizzaffi said. He has master’s degrees in leadership and early childhood development.
“After reviewing his qualifications, I don’t know if anybody else is more qualified than Michael Giroir to take that board position,” Grizzaffi said.
“The housing authority has made some leaps and bounds over the last few years. And expect for it ... to continue that way,” Grizzaffi said.
The housing board will still have to elect one of its members to fill Ho’s position as chairman.
Officials plan to get stricter on attendance for housing board members, as the positions are extremely important to residents in the city, Grizzaffi said. Grizzaffi plans to enforce the rule that allows for the removal of a board member after missing three straight meetings.
Councilman Ron Bias said he was disappointed at the situation that led to Ho’s resignation, but Ho “did do a tremendous job” while he was on the board.
Bias hopes the housing authority continues to move in a positive direction, “because if anything is needed, it’s housing,” he said.
Also, three former Morgan City Housing Authority employees were scheduled to report to prison Monday. The three defendants and one other defendant received a total of $514,764.14 in bonus payments to which they were not entitled from 2007 to 2013, according to their guilty pleas.
According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website, former Executive Director Charles E. Spann, who was sentenced to three years in prison, is incarcerated in the Federal Correctional Institute in Bastrop, Texas. Ex-Accounting Tech Diana Pace is incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institute in Aliceville, Alabama, serving an 18-month prison sentence.
Former Housing Manager Tori D. Johnson is serving a year and a day sentence at Carswell Federal Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas. A fourth ex-employee, Sandra D. Greene, an ex-housing manager, received five years of probation in the case.
In other business, the council
—Approved Doric Lodge 205 to host the fourth annual “National Night Out” in Lawrence Park from 1-5 p.m. Oct. 1. The purpose of the public event is to promote unity and positive interaction with local law enforcement agencies and other first responders.
—Approved the Holy Cross Knights of Columbus Council to host a Tootsie-Roll drive at the intersection of U.S. 90 and La. 70 in Morgan City, under the bridge, from 1-5 p.m. Sept. 30 and from 8 a.m.-noon Oct. 1. All money raised will go to the St. Mary Center of Hope and the St. Mary Parish Special Olympics.
—Approved a change order at a cost of $37,992.49 for the Front Street Wharf Rehabilitation to change stringer spacing from 24 inches to 16 inches to allow for composite decking to be installed.
—Approved the appointment of Andy Reed to the Morgan City Indigent De-fender Board.
—Approved declaring surplus equipment at the city’s old diesel plant.