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Local News

Housing Authority of Joliet reaches 'standard' status

JOLIET – The Housing Authority of Joliet has announced it has reached "standard performer" status, which is a step up since federal regulators labeled it a "troubled agency" in 2012.

The authority has made improvements in management and finances in the last three years to get the status, CEO Michael Simelton said.

"Over a three-year period, we're finally back to a standard performer," he said. "In fact, we're only two points from being a high performer."

The authority received 88 out of 100 possible points on the latest Public Housing Assessment System report card from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

HUD labeled the authority a troubled agency in 2012, a year in which the authority fired its executive director amid an internal investigation and failed to file required financial statements with the federal regulator.

Simelton said the latest report card reflects improved scores in both finance and management, two areas of poor performance in the 2011 report card.

The authority that year got a zero on a scoring for financial performance. In its latest report card, that score is 17 out of a possible 25.

The management score on the report card is now 23 out of 25, compared to 13 in 2011.

Simelton said the improved scores have come at a time of tight finances. The authority has cut staff and exerted increased controls over its contractual costs.

"We had to make significant cuts over the years," he said.

The authority now employs 45 workers, compared to 73 in 2011. Simelton has been CEO since Henry Morris was fired in 2012.

The authority is regulated by HUD, but its board is appointed by the mayor of Joliet.

"From what I've seen since I've become mayor, I think they're headed in the right direction," Joliet Mayor Bob O'Dekirk said. "I think Michael Simelton and his team are taking the steps they need to take."

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