Rhega Taylor, director of the Housing Choice Voucher program (Section 8), and Jeffrey Causey, chief financial officer, are no longer with the Durham Housing Authority, effective last Friday.
The DHA board of directors confirmed Taylor's and Causey's departures, although the circumstances of their terminations — whether they were fired or resigned — are unclear. DHA CEO Dallas Parks has not yet responded to requests for comment.
Causey had been with DHA since 2007.
Under Taylor's direction, the Section 8 program had recently encountered several problems. As BCR reported last fall, Taylor's department had erroneously told people who held vouchers for one-bedroom units that they could not use them for two-bedroom units. There has been a chronic shortage of one-bedroom units available for Section 8 voucher holders; HUD allows those people to upscale, as long as the subsidy covers the cost.
And in December, a 21-page federal audit found DHA's Section 8 department paid more than $43,000 in ineligible fees and housing assistance, plus wrongfully received another $7,000 in administrative fees.
Taylor's sudden departure also comes at a time when DHA is beginning a three-year process to convert its public housing properties to Section 8, also known as the RAD program. Steve Schewel, the City Council liaison to the DHA board, has repeated said he is concerned that there are not enough resources — staff or financial — to convert the hundreds of properties to private hands by the 2019 deadline established by HUD.
Board minutes from November 2015 showed that then-chairman Tom Niemann cited the federal audit in his concerns that a private investor "might not be comfortable with DHA managing its sites based on issues with the Housing Choice Voucher department."
In addition, Parks is scheduled to retire in June, leaving DHA in flux. An executive search is underway.
This is a developing story; we'll update it as we receive more information.