Housing Authority fires director

By JAMIE PATTERSON,

The Yazoo City Housing Authority Board fired its director Alpresteon Billings during Tuesday afternoon’s meeting.

The following morning, the Housing Authority sign was ripped from the front of the building it shared with the Gateway Community Development.

Following the resignation of former director Betty Reed, Billings has served as the Housing Authority’s director since last September. She first joined the Housing Authority in 2010 as an administrative assistant and compliance officer.

The Housing Authority Board voted unanimously to terminate Billings.

Chairman Danny Neely said he did not want to comment on the issue since the termination was a personnel matter. But he said he would refer to the Housing Authority policy.

The Housing Authority policy states, “…the Agency can terminate employees at any time and for any or no reason. The Agency subscribes to the policy of ‘employment at-will.’”

Neely said the board did hire an interim executive director, who will also assist in the training and search of a permanent leader.

Ben Washington, who served with the Vicksburg Housing Authority for seven years, was hired by the Housing Board. A Yazoo County native, he holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and is a certified public housing manager.

According to his resume, while working at Trustmark National Bank, Washington “saved the Mississippi Housing Partnership’s Home for the Holidays program,” which was a federal program that purchased and rehabilitated homes in West Jackson for low-income citizens. His consulting firm has also assisted in a number of housing-related programs.

“As executive director for the Vicksburg Housing Authority, he took over an authority in troubled status and, within eight years, the troubled status was removed,” Washington’s resume states. “He is in the final stages of completing a 100 percent RAD transition valued at $50 million for the Vicksburg Housing Authority.”

Despite her termination with the Housing Authority, Billings still serves with Gateway, which is a non-profit affiliate of the Housing Authority.