Portsmouth council votes to hold hearing to remove PRHA board members

13News Now Jemie Lee has the story

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WVEC) -- Despite a vigorous fight from Councilman Mark Whitaker, the Portsmouth City Council voted in favor of a hearing to remove five board members from the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority.

Board members Flossie Bridgeford, Joseph Haskell, Joe Fleming, Danielle Jones and Teresa Gunn could be gone in just two weeks. They can resign by February 21, or they can make their case before City Council at the hearing on February 28.

“But they're appealing to us, so they already know six of us want to get rid of them. My guess is one or two may appeal -- we don’t know -- but I assume all will be terminated by February 28,” Councilwoman Elizabeth Psimas said.

See Also: Community frustrated with Portsmouth Redevelopment Housing Authority

Psimas said the problems just kept adding up, from a legal battle over the procurement process in obtaining an attorney, to a federal investigation by HUD; it was time for a brand new board.

“The crowning blow for me, personally, was when they fired Hal Short, who had been a four-decade employee with the housing authority and had been executive director for quite some time... and he was intending to retire,” she said.

Psimas started calling for the board's termination after Short was fired, but she couldn't get enough votes with the old council.

“Fast forward, we have a new council. Three new members, including the mayor.”

PRHA is also in the process of hiring a new executive director, and Psimas wants to make sure the right person gets the job.

“We want a new board to hire a new executive director. Not this board, with their bad practices,” she said.

13News Now reached out to all the affected board members. Chairwoman Flossie Bridgeford responded saying she wasn't surprised by the vote, and she has no plans to resign. 

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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