Shakeup at housing authority raises questions

New group decries housing authority chief’s ouster

ROCHESTER — Officials are calling for investigations into the recent ouster of Alex Castro as executive director of the Rochester Housing Authority.

In the span of two days last week, the Rochester Housing Authority’s board of commissioners removed Castro from the post and hired City Councilman Adam McFadden as interim director.

In a statement, City Councilwoman Jackie Ortiz called for an "official and thorough review" by the city’s Board of Ethics and the Office of Public Integrity. She said she also is seeking an opinion from the city’s Office of Counsel.

Mayor Lovely Warren also released an Oct. 21 letter addressed to George Moses, chairman of the RHA board of commissioners. Warren’s letter states that a formal search process must be conducted as McFadden is in place for a three-month period.

"This responsibility is too great to make an appointment of an executive director without a rigorous review of qualifications," the mayor said in the letter.

In her statement, Ortiz said she plans to ask the RHA board at its next meeting to explain Castro’s removal. The board is scheduled to meet at noon on Oct. 22.

"It is important that we have all the information into what led to this change and its affect on the city of Rochester," Ortiz said in her statement. "To say that I am concerned is an understatement. What has transpired appears to have been both mismanaged and inappropriate. I look forward to receiving a thorough and transparent review. We owe this to the citizens of the city of Rochester."

The Ibero-American Action League also has scheduled an Oct. 22 meeting to discuss the Hispanic community’s response to the situation. The meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. at the agency’s office at 817 E. Main St., Ortiz said.

According to reports from such news outlets as Time Warner Cable News and the Democrat and Chronicle, officials from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development are reviewing the situation.

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