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Housing Authority board to review CEO's performance

March 19, 2011 |  5:14 pm

Board members of L.A.'s housing authority will meet Monday afternoon to consider the performance of the agency's chief executive, Rudolf Montiel.

The agenda for the special meeting, which was posted late Friday, includes an unusual note stating that the board possibly will consider disciplining or dismissing Montiel or making an "adjustment" to his compensation.

Montiel, who heads the $1-billion-a-year agency responsible for sheltering 60,000 of the city's neediest families, ignited a storm of protest last fall after his agency moved to evict nine tenants who had protested housing authority policies and demonstrated outside his Rancho Cucamonga home.

The evictions were later rescinded, but not before Los Angeles City Council members accused Montiel of being "childlike" and acting like "Big Brother" and questioned his annual compensation package, which is worth nearly $450,000.   

The agency's board of commissioners, meanwhile, has been sharply criticized by tenants after a KCBS-TV Channel 2 news report last month that board members spent more than $150,000 over the last two years on extravagant travel, fancy restaurants and cocktails.

Earlier this month, Montiel and other agency staff members told board members to reimburse some of the money for unauthorized travel and "double-dipped" expenses. Such double billing involved board members charging meals to their agency credit cards while also taking a "per diem" to cover meals.  

Tenants also have sued the board and the agency, accusing them of repeatedly violating the state's open meeting law. Tenants complain that the board consistently holds "special meetings," such as the one set for Monday, instead of regular meetings that require more notice to the public.

"They are supposed to have regular meetings on Thursday mornings, but throughout all of 2010, they only met three times at that time," said Legal Aid Foundation lawyer Barbara Schultz. "They are making it extremely difficult for the public to participate."

-- Jessica Garrison