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Dukes County Regional Housing Authority Hopeful Governor's Plan Won't Abolish It

Doing away with local housing boards and consolidating individual offices into six regional ones is Gov. Patrick's idea for addressing waste and corruption in the public housing system. Do you think that's a good idea?

The Dukes County Regional Housing Authority, one of 240 public housing authorities across Massachusetts, would all but vanish as part of a proposal from Gov. Deval Patrick to streamline public housing management operations.

Yet, David Vigneault, excutive director for the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority, is hopeful the Vineyard's regional housing authority will not be abolished as part of the governor's new plan.

"We are not typical," said Vigneault, "we are already regionalized and we don't have state-aided housing."

Since the island does not have any state subsidized housing units, each of the six towns proportionately pays for salaries and management fees for the housing authority. The state contriubtes no funding toward the office.

"We are politically chartered and locally funded," said Vigneault.

Vigneault added that he understood the impetus of why the Governor wants to consolidate housing authorities, but hoped the state would view some exceptions, for instance, the Dukes County Regional Housing Authority, to the plan.

"We're in an exceptional situation," Vigneault said.

The Patrick administration reportedly estimates the consolidation would save more than $10 million a year in salaries and administrative costs.

According to the Boston Globe, while Gov. Patrick's proposal would centralize public housing management into six regional ­offices, a small number of managers and maintenance workers would remain at local housing author­ities.

The consolidation move comes in the wake of troubling corruption scandals uncovered by the Globe, which were partly possible because holding hundreds of separate housing authorities accountable is a management challenge.

Patrick filed his reform legistation Thursday.

What we know so far of the governor's proposal sounds like a move toward more accountable, efficient government.

Yet would it also mean less local say and control over the housing authority on the Vineyard?

Does that matter to you? What could and should change if control is transferred to a larger regional offices, for example Cape Cod and the Islands?

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