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Letter: It’s time to pull the plug on BMHA travel abuses

It’s time to pull the plug on BMHA travel abuses

Once again our federal dollars are being squandered. The News has explicitly diagrammed how the head of the Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority, Dawn Sanders-Garrett, has taken advantage of little or no oversight to travel to 34 conferences resulting in an absence of 158 days over four years. It would be interesting to see if she has also taken vacations.

Thanks to an investigation by Sen. Charles Grassley, hopefully answers will be provided to justify the $120,000 in travel costs by the BMHA in a four-year period, while continuing to hold the label “substandard” for the last three.

Not only does Sanders-Garrett travel at will, so does her Assistant Executive Director Modesto Candelario (20 trips, 10 with Sanders-Garrett, $15,000), BMHA Manager Anthony Laurette (15 out-of-town meetings, $30,000) and BMHA commissioners (seven) went to two trips ($10,600). In the case of Laurette, he was also getting training to take a bigger role at the authority. Has he progressed? Been promoted?

Sanders-Garrett mentions having some of her and her assistant executive director’s expenses paid by the HAI group, which seems to be just an insurance company dealing with, among other things, public housing. Does it provide insurance by competitive bidding? She claims to have secured additional funding for the BMHA. Has this been verified? Other sources of funding from an advertising sign? Who allows this, who agrees to this?

The residents deserve better than this. And the final brilliant comment made by Sanders-Garrett is that she blames all of this on federal funding cuts! Please tell me Grassley will get some answers and make them public. If not, I want her job. I’m all packed.

Barbara Lion


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