• Gov. Patrick claims public housing changes will save state millions


    (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – During the last week, Gov. Deval Patrick has outlined his plans for closing loopholes in the state's unemployment system, proposed reforming the state's compounding pharmacies, and now. has announced yet another overhaul.

    Gov. Patrick filed a bill Thursday that would consolidate the state's public housing system and create transparency. He claims the move would save the state millions. His plan eliminates 240 local housing authorities, which offer shelter to 300,000 low-income and elderly residents, and sets up six regional agencies in its place.

    The proposal would consolidate public housing management - including budgeting, planning and administrative functions - into six central offices, while leaving managers and maintenance workers at local housing authorities.

    The plan cuts local boards and means there is no longer a need for 1,000 politically appointed commissioners. One such commissioner, former Chelsea Housing Authority Chief Michael McLaughlin, was involved in one of the most outrageous cases of corruption.

    For years, McLaughlin collected a $360,000 paycheck and allegedly hid his inflated salary from the state. He was forced to step down in 2011.

    When asked if this was a reactionary response to corruption, the governor replied, "yes."

    When asked how practical and realistic it would be, Gov. Patrick told FOX 25's Sharman Sacchetti, "I only propose what I believe to be realistic and also right for the Commonwealth."

    The governor made the announcement outside his office at the State House.

    Conspicuously missing from the group was one of McLaughlin's longtime political allies, Lieutenant Gov. Tim Murray.

    A spokeswoman said Murray had a previous engagement on the south coast.

    Republicans say they welcome any plan to reform the system, but are concerned about whether this will actually be more efficient.

    Sen. Bruce Tarr says he has concerns about "swapping out a small centralized bureaucracy" for a large one.

    It's unclear if this even has a chance of passing.

    A spokesman for Speaker Robert DeLeo said, "As soon as the governor's proposals are filed, they will be referred to committee and given full consideration."

    The governor's State of the State is set for next week, and it will likely include new taxes.


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