The Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority’s financial mismanagement has become so bad, that employees of the agency have been told to refrain from suggesting that stoves and refrigerators would be provided to tenants in their lease agreements.
This development comes as the authority’s management team weathers extraordinary criticism from tenants. The Executive Director Dawn Sanders-Garrett is fighting to save her job. Her current contract expires at the end of this month and the Mayor’s five appointees to the seven seat Board of Commissioners are being bullied into extending her contract, says a source who wished to remain anonymous.
Political observers say that the agency should clean house and bring in a new management team, in the aftermath of a “substandard management” designation by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and federal officials’ recent threat to force the entity into receivership.
Sources inside the authority call Sanders-Garret a “figurehead with no real management responsibilities.” They say that Modesto Candelario, the Assistant Executive Director, controls the day to day management and fiscal condition of the agency.
In fact, the agency forced out its entire accounting staff three years ago, and fired the previous Senior Accountant — who was responsible for the auditing and performance evaluations relating to the federal funding formula that provides much of BMHA’s $40 million annual budget.
Only recently — after three years of remaining intentionally vacant — was the position for a Senior Accountant even posted — with a closing date in mid-April. The position was posted with a salary of $53,000 — shockingly below average salaries for a CPA, which typically range between $125,000 – $145,000 per year.
Sanders-Garrett and Candelario each make in excess of $125,000 annually. Sanders-Garrett is the god daughter of Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes, who uses the agency to reward family members and political supporters.