Galveston Housing Authority Chair Buddy Herz announced his resignation to Galveston City Council in workshop today, but after strong objections from members of the city council, he agreed to stay on a few more days.
“Yesterday was a big day for me,” Herz said, beginning a 21-minute prepared statement. Listen
Herz said that he learned of several remarkable developments regarding Galveston Housing Authority and its relationship with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Texas General Land Office on Wednesday.
Herz said he learned of a proposal filed by GHA Executive Director Stanley Lowe to HUD on August 15, “discussing an additional 248 mixed-income units to be constructed behind Randalls, which was filed without the knowledge of any member of the GHA Board of Commissioners.”
Herz said that later in the day he learned that the Texas General Land Office had cut off funds to Galveston, ten days before the deadline previously designated by HUD and the GLO and another deadline verbally agreed to by another official.
“About 4:30, I spoke with Sharon Strain, former executive director of GHA, for her advice about the various problems,” Herz said. “Her advice was that she thought HUD was setting up GHA for a takeover based upon whatever plan GHA submitted.”
Herz said he believes that Lowe is positioning himself for a job with HUD when the takeover occurs.
In addition to his exasperation with HUD and the GLO, Herz gave a personal reason for his resignation.
“Two days ago I met with a friend, who happens to be a minority, to talk about the housing problem,” Herz said. “As I was leaving, he said to me that several people had mentioned to him that the mayor, Ann Masel and I (Herz) were Jewish; and how could we be against helping black people. I was incensed that anti-Semitism had reared up because three people who happen to have the same religion believe that there was a better method for solving the problems of low income housing.”
At the end of his speech, Herz summed it up.
“Life is too short to have to deal with political fools and political chicanery,” Herz said, continuing to express disapproval of the GLO and HUD. “I therefore am submitting my resignation as chairman of the GHA and as a commissioner. Mayor Rosen will have my resignation later this afternoon.”
Herz said he hoped to work with the city legal team as a volunteer on the project.
Mayor Lewis Rosen called for a five minute recess after Herz announced his resignation, then the council members expressed their opinions. Listen
Members of the city council, especially Terrilyn Tarlton, insisted that Herz could not resign.
“You are not a quitter!” she insisted. “You can’t quit when the going gets tough – none of us can!”
Herz said he might stay on a few days, at least long enough to fire Lowe.
“He needs to be terminated immediately,” he said.
Mayor Rosen then broke the meeting into executive session. The topic will likely continue to be discussed at this afternoon’s regular meeting which begins at 4 p.m.
(Editor's note: Herz later rescinded his resignation)