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Mayor recommends interim chief for L.A. housing authority

December 12, 2011 |  6:27 pm

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called Monday for one of his department heads to temporarily take over management of the city's beleaguered housing authority.

In a letter to his appointees on the seven-member housing authority board, Villaraigosa recommended that Doug Guthrie, general manager of the Los Angeles Housing Department, a different city agency, run the  authority until a permanent executive director is named.

The housing authority has been buffeted by criticism over its spending practices, with both City Controller Wendy Greuel and KCET-TV focusing on high-priced travel and meal expenses. The Times reported last week that the housing authority’s board gave a $1.2-million payout to fired Executive Director Rudy Montiel.

A vote on Guthrie is scheduled for Tuesday, the same day that housing authority officials are scheduled to appear before the City Council to discuss their expense policies.

Guthrie, 62, earns nearly $212,000 annually. He was hired in January 2010. While running the housing authority, he will continue in his current job as head of the housing department, said Villaraigosa spokesman Peter Sanders.

The housing department carries out inspections of rental units and provides funding for construction of new low- and moderate-income residential units. The housing authority is a state-chartered agency that spends $1 billion a year, administering rental vouchers for 60,000 needy families and overseeing public housing projects, including Jordan Downs and Nickerson Gardens in Watts.


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-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

PHOTO: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. CREDIT: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times