Housing Authority account deficiencies support the need for public oversight

In 2012, the Long Branch Housing Authority took operational control of the Asbury Park Housing Authority to correct deficiencies under its former executive director, who was charged with stealing more than $75,000.  Further, an audit revealed $350K in reserves reported as $0 with no spending trail, and officials say they have no idea where the money went.

This demonstrates why public oversight is so important.  New Jersey’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and Open Public Meetings Act (OPMA) apply to such authorities, and pending reform bills — S781 (OPMA) and S782 (OPRA) — will clarify application of these laws to many non-profits performing public functions, too.