The Jefferson Parish Council voted 4-3 Wednesday (Dec. 7) against asking the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to take over operations of the parish Housing Authority. The decision came after a rigorous debate on whether to disband the agency’s board of commissioners.
The idea was supported by Nancy Pearson, a board member who has criticized authority Chairman Jimmy Lawson’s leadership. Lawson rebuffed the idea of a federal takeover, asserting that HUD only takes over local housing authorities with a “troubled” status. “We have not received a letter saying we are troubled,” Lawson said.
But Councilman Mark Spears Jr., whose district includes the agency’s public housing complex in Marrero, cited a letter from HUD’s Cheryl Williams saying the authority “will be deemed” troubled in “an official letter” that “is forthcoming.” Lawson blamed the Housing…