Local officials rap Patrick public housing plan

Updated:

NORTHAMPTON (AP) - Local housing authority officials in westernMassachusetts are criticizing a proposal to put all public housing under statecontrol.

The Daily Hampshire Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/VFF3IE) that Gov. Deval Patrick has proposed establishing six regional agencies inthe state. The entities would take over ownership and manage all housingprojects and apartments in the state.

Local boards would be cut and hundreds of commissioners hired through politicalappointments would be eliminated.

Jon Hite, executive director of the Northampton Housing Authority, says theplan may improve efficiency but that tenants would lose an opportunity fortheir voices to be heard.

Denise LeDuc, executive director of the Amherst Housing Authority, saiddeveloping six regional authorities throughout the state is way too ambitious.

Local officials say some reform is necessary, but are concerned thatPatrick's plan will weaken local control.