Following the death of former director Betty Reed, another director of the Gateway Community Development Corporation has been selected with Housing Authority Director Alpresteon Billings assuming the post.
But some are wondering if there is a conflict of interest.
During the recent city council meeting, Alderman Aubry Brent Jr. asked if Billings worked for the Yazoo City Housing Authority or for Gateway.
“I work for both,” Billings answered.
“Can you do that,” Brent asked.
“That would be a question for the attorney to get back with you,” Billings replied.
The Gateway Corporation is a non-profit affiliate of the Yazoo City Housing Authority. The relationship between the two was questioned last year when it was determined that there was a conflict of interest with two former Housing Authority board members also serving on the Gateway board.
Reminded of that circumstance, Brent said he was curious if the conflict of interest clause applied again.
“Do you see any potential conflict,” asked Mayor Diane Delaware, to Billings. “I ask you this because you are on the floor of City Hall. Do you see any potential conflicts that could occur between Gateway and the Housing Authority?”
“No,” Billings replied.
“As the city’s (board) attorney, I feel we are getting into a personnel matter,” said Lilli Evans-Bass, board attorney.
Alderman Sir Johnathan Rucker said he applauded Billings for carrying out the work that was started by Reed.
“I applaud you,” Rucker said. “And I commend her (Reed’s) work and her effort to find funding so that we, and I say ‘we’ because I am a product of public housing, are able to have affordable and decent housing.”
After nearly an hour of discussion, Delaware reminded Billings that the city council had not received financial statements from the Housing Authority yet despite requests to produce them.