Schroeder wants to make BMHA more accountable to taxpayers and tenants

Posted at 1:07 PM, Sep 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-10 18:00:30-04

Buffalo Comptroller Mark Schroeder wants Buffalo Municipal Housing Authority to undergo an independent audit. 

Schroeder is planning to announce his proposal in Tuesday’s Common Council’s finance committee meeting. Schroeder said he wants to restore public confidence in BMHA. He said in order for it to happen Buffalo elected leaders have to step up. 

His plan is for the outside auditors to perform a financial risk assessment and review all expenditures and revenue at the agency. 

BMHA already gets audited by its different funding sources including New York State and the federal government. But Schroeder said many public entities hire firms to assist with internal auditing. it’s a cost effective approach. 

“Audit reports by the Department of Housing and Urban Development tend to be narrow in focus, looking at certain programs and the use of federal funds, not necessarily the same areas our plan would target,” said Schroeder.

Gillian Brown, Interim Executive Director for BMHA said this Schroeder’s proposed audit is “unnecessary.” He said authority is not funded by the city. 

The BMHA has been underwire recently after letting elderly tenants live in housing without heat or hot water during the winter time. Former BMHA Executive Director, Dawn Sanders-Garrett suddenly resign following reports from 7 Eyewitness News Reporter Justin Moore, which lead to the city investigating multiple concerns from tenants. 

According to Schroeder, Buffalo Common Council President, Darius Pridgen is on board with this audit proposal. However, Mayor Byron Brown has not responded to a letter Schroeder wrote him proposing the idea. Brown's Spokesperson Michael DeGeorge said " Mayor does not support it because HUD has already been conducting a review of BMHA. The comptroller's idea would be a duplication of services and possibly result in spending money that doesn't need to be spent." 

Schroeder said BMHA would pay for the audit. 

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