SEIU calls for MDHA director to resign

Monday, August 17, 2009 at 12:40pm

On the heels of news reports surrounding invoices for the proposed new convention center project, the Service Employees International Union Local 205 president sent a letter on Thursday calling for the resignation of Metro Development and Housing Agency Director Phil Ryan.

SEIU president Doug Collier said in the letter that the Union hopes “someone of authority will finally look at the power structure of MDHA and make necessary changes in order to restore the public trust.”

Collier’s letter goes on to state “…Phil Ryan should resign and any other responsible should be held accountable to facilitate a fresh start between MDHA, Metro Government and the citizens of Nashville.”

Collier pointed out that Ryan serves as executive director, secretary treasurer and recording secretary for MDHA. Collier claims that the MDHA board has not voted against Ryan once since he became director in 2003.

The letter goes on to make three other as-yet unsubstantiated allegations, including that MDHA workers were required to perform private favors for department managers; that MDHA overpaid for buffalo statues on Dickerson Road; and that there has been a lack of accountability for the hiring of a security firm “owned by a convicted felon that nearly resulted in the loss of a resident’s life.”

Ryan could not immediately be reached for comment.

The media spotlight has been shining on Ryan and MDHA since a story by NewsChannel5 showed the agency approved more than $450,000 in invoices for the communications contract for the proposed new convention center. The contract with the public relations firm McNeely, Pigott & Fox was originally for just $75,000.

Some Council members say the situation shows poor contract management and Dean has made a move to take oversight of the $635 million project away from MDHA.

Read full text of Collier's letter here.

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Letter to Mayor and Council.pdf380.79 KB

6 Comments on this post:

By: govskeptic on 8/17/09 at 12:26

I was struck by the point made in the story about the "Board" not voting aganist Mr.
Ryan's wishes on a single matter since he's been Director MDHA. One must remember that Board Members are appointed(not for their expertise and certainly not independent thinking) to carry out the wishes of the appointing authority. That being----drum roll-------The Mayor. whom ever he/she may be.

By: WayneJ on 8/17/09 at 12:56

I’m curious as to what the going price is for a buffalo statue.

In the meantime, sing this to the tune of “Home on The Range”

Oh say have you heard, there’s a thundering herd
Coming in from the north side today.
Don’t let taggers know – or those arteests will go
And they’ll screw up this purty display.

MDHA is deranged!
But at least they’ve cleaned up Dickerson
For where we had sluts, We have Buffalo Butts,
And the pimps – they have nowhere to run.

By: JeffF on 8/17/09 at 12:57

If it takes a silly contract overpayment and poor public record keeping to bring down the MDHA shadow government then so be it. MDHA should go back to just handling public housing and let the private industry do the development think without government (quasi or otherwise) drive up the complexity and costs.

By: eastnashville37207 on 8/18/09 at 1:56

Jeff,
Please no handling of public housing as Phil Ryan and Pat Clark have abused their powers by housing felons.
Hud vs Rucker clearly states that federal money is not to be used to house felons and MDHA has been doing it for years to scam money from the Federal Government.
Nashville has emptied the jails and housed the criminals illegally in every kind of housing project that MDHA wants to call it. This has caused massive crime in most areas of Nashville. Many people have lost their lives because of Phil Ryan and Pat Clark and they both should be held accountable.
What's most disturbing is that MNPD is well aware that MDHA has been breaking Federal and State laws and yet because MDHA pads their pockets they ignore the laws. When I approached an officer years ago about the "Hud vs Rucker" law the office acted as if he didn't know the law and probably didn't.
Serpas, Ryan and Clark all need to be prosecuted and thrown in jail for not abiding to the laws.

By: CAH on 8/18/09 at 9:42

Well, if the SEIU demands it, he better resign or the thugs in purple shirts will show up just as they do at town hall meetings on the health plan. After all, they are in league with the Obamassiah.

By: Time for Truth on 8/18/09 at 9:51

Ryan needs to go.

I already was of that opinion due to his conduct throughout this convention center boondoggle, but this article and comments reinforces that opinion. Buffalo statues? Whose brilliant idea was that? And if we paid too much for buffalo statues and PR tweets imagine the abuse and overspending that would happen with actually building the mammoth and unneccesary MCC project.

eastnashville, MDHA is supposed to manage and construct public housing and with a director who is competent and respects the law I don't see why that shouldn't continue. But your observations are correct - I've seen the same things you have.

WayneJ, very funny lyrics!