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Peekskill Housing Authority Board Votes Down Phipps Contract Renewal

PHA Director Harold Phipps, protested for months by Darrell Davis and supporters, will not have his contract renewed this year.

Update: The Peekskill Housing Authority Board of Directors released a statement regarding the vote not to renew Phipps contract on June 24. 

 “The Board has asked Mr. Phipps to stay on board until a new Executive Director has been selected. The PHA Board has hired a professional search firm to conduct the search,” PHA Chair Ron Abad said.

The Peekskill Housing Authority Board of Directors voted against renewing its Director Harold Phipps’ yearly contract last week. The vote was four to one against the renewal, according to the PHA board.

Phipps started as the PHA Director on July 5, 2009 and his contract was renewed for another year in September, 2010. He has been one of many subjects and by the Committee for Justice, run by social activist Darrell Davis of Mount Vernon and the Cortlandt-Peekskill Anti-Racism Coalition at Common Council meetings for the past year. At the meetings Davis has asked Peekskill Mayor Mary Foster to publically denounce Phipps but the Mayor has not conceded to Davis’ request.

“It is pretty amazing,” said Davis of the board’s vote. “It was a long, ugly battle."

“Its good news. It’s definitely something that needed to happen for this community to move forward,” Davis said, speaking of Peekskill's low-income community.

Davis says that Phipps was entering women’s apartments unannounced, locking his daughter's dance group out of the Bohlman Towers community room to prevent them from rehearsing, raising rent as much as $200 per month in violation of Housing Authority by-laws and is generally disrespectful.

The Council had the Peekskill Police Department investigated Davis’ complaints and Peekskill Police Chief Eugene Tumolo reported at the that the investigation revealed no one in Bohlman Towers who would confirm or report that there was a problem with Phipps entering women’s apartments. The council also reported that the dance group had been locked out several times by accident, but that the Peekskill Housing Authority Board asked Phipps to keep the room unlocked and resolved the issue.

“I have no opinion one way or another in the matter,” Peekskill Mayor Foster said of the board’s decision. “It is my understanding that Phipps has agreed to stay on as an interim director while they search. It was a board decision making sure there is still consistency. I heard they are also engaging a professional firm to (help with the search).”

The Mayor said that Phipps has focused a lot on improving the quality of the physical facilities, common areas and apartments, and on upgrading buildings and making them safer.

“He has worked hard in that respect,” Mayor Foster said.

The Peekskill Housing Authority Board of Commissioners is a seven member unit with five appointments made by the mayor and two persons selected as tenant representatives by the residents. Currently there is one appointment seat and  tenant seat open, the board reported on June 24.

Editor's Note: This article has been updated to reflect comments released by the Peekskill Housing Authority Board of Commissioners on June 24.

mr very concerned November 03, 2012 at 12:59 AM
let me tell you all i work here and this guy acks like he on a search and destroy mission he is doing the same thing he did in jersey..i have never worked for someone his age that is so incompetent......MR very concerned.
Jill Gertz November 03, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Darell Davis lost any speck of credibility two decades ago when his protests turned gratuitously violent. He was taught to be an Alinksy agitator by white people who use misfits as political battering rams. Its just constant chaos and defamation with him. Peekskill needs to show some resolve when being bullied by people who would be laughed out of other cities
leesther brown November 03, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Unfortunately like Obama Phipps walked into a mess...The properties suffered long ago from incompetent leadership,as a former board chair there were things and workers that should have been let go long ago in fact they should have never been hired! moving forward you'll now have a board with a couple of folks that will really make a mess (Mike Kane and Diana Burruss) do I think Phipps should go..Yes...but for failing to enforce Occupancy Policy not because folks want to whine about following rules..Mr Concerned how did he run Jersey?!!! I'll tell you..He bloated the Maintenance budget,you know for yourself that there are things that have been neglected at the Housing Authority for years,he has hired a young man that would not have had a chance ,or even considered for a civil service job(you know who you are) and I could go on and on...I was against Phipps hire way before he was contracted and nobody listened....Now he's here and because he stopped the workers from using housing vehicles for their personal use "He's on a search and destroy mission" that's funny :)! If my guess is right this is the only real job you've ever had and with this new Board I hope you get to keep it along with those very lucrative benefits and pension(NOT)
leesther brown November 03, 2012 at 02:33 AM
You are sure right Jill, which is why he is in Court now for his lies....Mary Foster used him as well and she will use this latest slander fest again as a Campaign talking point Mike Kane ain't on that Board because he cares about the residents..Very Concerned sounds as though he isn't happy maybe he should look elsewhere only I don't hold out much hope that he will get a job like he has now.....#darrelldavisisawhiteman....
mr very concerned November 03, 2012 at 08:21 PM
i agree with you there has been a problem befor phipps and i dont hate phipps but bad is going to much worse. all so im not happy this place can be better and people really need to start doing there JOBS im greatfull for my job and would like to keep it....and there is so much anger all around nothing will ever get done

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