Bill would revamp the state's public housing system

Updated:

BOSTON (AP) - Gov. Deval Patrick's proposal to streamline the state's public housing system is set for a Statehouse hearing.

The plan calls for eliminating 240 local housing authorities and replacing them with six regional agencies in a bid to save money and discourage corruption.
 
Patrick filed the bill after revelations that former Chelsea Housing Authority director Michael McLaughlin was earning $360,000 a year. McLaughlin later pleaded guilty to federal charges that he tried to conceal his inflated salary. He also faces state charges of illegally soliciting campaign contributions for former Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray and others.
 
The bill, scheduled for a hearing Tuesday by the Legislature's Housing Committee, is opposed by local officials who say it's an overreaction to the McLaughlin case. They offered an alternative proposal to strengthen accountability without dismantling the current system.