Editorial: Keep perks out of public housing

A scrapped plan to give a percentage of development fees to St. Petersburg Housing Authority executives was an insult.
Housing Authority CEO Tony Love earns a $157,000 annual salary. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
Housing Authority CEO Tony Love earns a $157,000 annual salary. [DIRK SHADD | Times]
Published February 1

Should St. Petersburg Housing Authority executives get perks for building more homes for poor people? The answer is an obvious no, yet several members of the authority’s board floated the terrible idea of kicking a portion of new development fees to 10 executives. The proposal has since been scrapped — thankfully — but it should never have been raised in the first place.

The Times’ Christopher O’Donnell reported the idea came from the agency’s personnel committee before an October board meeting. Under the proposal, Housing Authority CEO Tony Love would have received 2 percent of development fees, and nine other officers would have gotten a 1 percent share from the construction of new low-income housing. They did approve giving Love — who makes $157,000 a year — a 5 percent pay raise and increase his monthly car allowance from $600 to $700 per month, both retroactive to the beginning of 2018.

Extra incentives have no place in a public housing agency, and St. Petersburg City Council members recognized that. Council member Amy Foster called it “ludicrous.” Add to that “insulting,” “atrocious” and “rotten.”

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