Former Wareham Housing Authority chastised for mismanagement
A state audit released on Wednesday provided a harsh critique of fiscal and administrative mismanagement by the Wareham Housing Authority’s previous executive director and former Board of Directors.
The more serious concerns raised included a failure to: document hours the former executive director worked over a three-year period, calculate proper rent payments, administer payment of $23,000 in expenses and keep track of $12,000 of credit card purchases.
Wareham Housing Authority members and Chair Bob Powilatis requested the state’s help in April 2013 after former Executive Director Pam Sequeira abruptly retired. According to Powilatis, several issues raised red flags for him, including a massive backlog of rent applications, the fact that units hadn’t been inspected for safety since 2007 and shoddy accounting.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump lauded board members for taking action.
"I commend the board of commissioners of the Wareham Housing Authority for seeking the independent assessment provided by my office to identify problems they suspected existed,” said Bump. “We found systemic problems, particularly in the areas of financial and records management. I’m pleased the board has begun to address the problems we identified”
In the audit, Bump provides recommendations for addressing the problems. Recommendations include strengthening oversight of expenditures, particularly in the realm of compensation and time and attendance records, bolstering policies and procedures for maintenance of proper documentation and reviewing tenant accounts if appropriate. The Authority’s board indicated they are taking steps to implement the recommendations and address the identified problems.
The Wareham Housing Authority manages and oversees 104 state-subsidized housing units for elderly tenants. It also manages 50 Massachusetts Rental Voucher Program units. It previously managed 20 federally subsidized units. It is governed by a five-member board of commissioners, four of which are elected by the citizens of Wareham, and the fifth is a state appointee.
Read the complete audit by clicking on the link below.