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Hefty pay increase for St. Pete housing CEO could get board members booted

Over the last year or so, there’s been a lot of voices in the community who have expressed concerns about the housing authority and some of the actions being taken by the housing authority.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Accusations that the St. Petersburg Housing Authority board approved a $10,000 pay increase for the CEO without first reviewing performance evaluations could result in the mayor using the law to remove five board members from office.

“The statue doesn't give me the authority to remove them simply because I didn't like their decisions,” said St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman. “It does, however, give me the authority to remove them if I think they've acted with malfeasance or they've negligently performed their duties, and I believe it has risen to that level."

Kriseman said he is waiting for the housing authority to provide his office with documents to help the city determine if further action needs to be taken. He expects to have the documents by next week and will decide at that point.

"This is a really important organization. What the housing authority does is really look out for and hopefully provide housing for our neediest populations,” said Kriseman. “Over the last year or so, there’s been a lot of voices in the community who have expressed concerns about the housing authority and some of the actions being taken by the housing authority. State law is very clear of what authority I have as the mayor from both appointing people to the housing authority and removal.”

Kriseman said he appointed many of the board members, but is disappointed at how business has been handled.

St. Petersburg NAACP President Maria Scruggs opposed the mayor’s statements and said threatening to remove board members from office is an abuse of power.

“At the point that mayors start to unilaterally make decisions of this nature without anything more substantive and factual, is irresponsible,” she said, adding that the mayor prematurely made statements without having documentation on the accusations.

“Unless the mayor has evidence of anything criminal or anything illegal, immoral or unethical or malfeasance, he is overstepping his authority as the mayor,” she said.

10News has not yet received a comment after reaching out to the St. Pete Housing Authority multiple times on Friday. 


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