Kilroy resigns from VHA, cites other obligations

Published 11:28 am Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Jay Kilroy, one of four Vicksburg Housing Authority commissioners appointed in 2009 in the wake of a drug scandal that led to the VHA director being fired, has resigned from the housing authority board.

Kilroy said he submitted his resignation to the board last week. The commissioners accepted it Tuesday by a 3-0 vote. Neither Kilroy nor board chairman Christopher Barnett were at the meeting.

Kilroy said in his letter increasing family and business obligations prevented him from being able to commit the time necessary to serve on the board.

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“I don’t have the time to devote to the position like I used to,” he said Tuesday. “I wish them the best of luck. They’ve got some serious cash-flow issues to deal with over the next few months.”

Vice chairman Charles Wright called the resignation “a surprise to me, but I do understand.”

“He did a lot of good, hard work and we’re going to miss him,” Wright said.

VHA commissioners are appointed to staggered five-year terms

VHA executive director Ben Washington said he would recommend a replacement to Mayor Paul Winfield and the Board of Mayor and Aldermen would name Kilroy’s replacement. He said he is preparing a list of recommendations.

VHA commissioners are appointed to staggered five-year terms. Kilroy’s term was to expire in December.

Winfield said he would like to appoint Kilroy’s replacement to a full term on the board, but wanted to check with city attorney Lee Thames to see if that could be done.

Kilroy, Barnett, Wright and Abraham Green were appointed by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen in February 2009 to replace three VHA board members whose terms had expired and a fourth who died in office. Commissioner John Ferguson was appointed in 2010.

The four appointments came in the wake of the arrest of Charles Jones Jr., a VHA employee in charge of maintenance and purchasing, who was charged with trafficking cocaine and eventually with embezzlement for stealing $4,370.55 in VHA property.

The housing authority board in May 2009 fired then-VHA executive director James Stirgus Sr.

Jones was fired from his job in 2008, and in May 2009 was indicted by a Warren County grand jury for possession of cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to distribute. The embezzlement indictment came later.

In November 2009 he pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and was sentenced to 10 years. The other drug charge and the embezzlement charge were dropped as part of the plea agreement. He was paroled in February and living in Warren County, according to Mississippi Department of Corrections records.

In another matter, executive director Ben Washington told the board that VHA has not received its June operations subsidy from HUD. The housing authority receives about $58,000 a month from HUD to cover the cost of operating the authority’s properties.

Washington said part of the problem is change in the way the funds are distributed, adding HUD has changed from allocating the subsidies on a monthly basis to releasing three months at a time.

“They’re also having to deal with budget problems like everyone else,” he said. “I don’t think it will be too much longer before we get our subsidy. We are not having any problems.”

If VHA needs operating funds, he said, it can draw from its $681,000 capital subsidy.

“HUD allows us to use up to 30 percent ($204,300) for operations,” he said. “Hopefully, we won’t have to draw from that.”

In other action, the board:

• Approved paying the May bills.

• Approved Washington’s report.

• Authorized Washington to sign for certificates of deposit.

• Approved Confederate Memorial Day as a holiday for VHA workers.