Minutes From An Annual Meeting September 17, 2015


An Annual Meeting of the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of the City of Orange was called to order at 6:05 p.m. on September 17, 2015 in the Community Room at Washington Manor, 340 Thomas Blvd., Orange, New Jersey. The Executive Director advised that all requirements of the Sunshine Law were met. A roll call was taken as follows:

Chairman Coram Rimes

Vice Chairman Clifford Ross – Entered meeting at 6:11 p.m.

Commissioner Ernest Williams

Commissioner Joseph Juliano

Commissioner Betty McLeod

Commissioner Hashim Garrett

Commissioner Tracey Latta


Also Present
Walter D. McNeil, Jr., Executive Director

Gary Gordon, Feinstein, Raiss, Kelin & Booker

Several Tenants

Several Employees


The pledge of allegiance was said.


Chairman Rimes called for a motion to adopt the agenda. Commissioner Latta moved to adopt the agenda. Commissioner Juliano seconded.


Chairman Rimes called for discussion

No discussion

A roll call was taken

All Commissioners voted in favor


Chairman Rimes called for a motion to adopt and/or correction of the Minutes from a Regular Board meeting on June 18, 2015.  Commissioner Williams moved to adopt.  Commissioner McLeod seconded.


Chairman Rimes called for discussion

No discussion

A roll call was taken

All Commissioners voted in favor



There was no Treasurer’s Report



Mr. McNeil said that they started doing work at Walter G. Alexander PHASE III.  The foundation is already in.  Construction schedule should be completed by May or June 2016.

Mr. McNeil said that Oakwood Avenue is completed and we had the grand opening on June 24, 2015.

Commissioner Ross entered the meeting.

Mr. McNeil talked about the Emergency Call System was not working properly and that we had looked into a new system.  The new system that was purchase is Life Station.

He also stated that Section 8 has been at its capacity of lease ups.

Mr. McNeil stated that he has notice that the tenants are using the Community Room a lot more, which he said is a good thing.



Linda Jones Bell, Tenant Association President said that the tenants have a few issues, the biggest issue is the Security Guards are very disrespectful and mean and that they need additional training.

She also said that it is very hot in the elevators and the hallways.

Ms. Jones Bell also said that on the patio why isn’t the awning also out.  She said someone has to ask for it to be out.  She said there should be a set time like from 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.

She also stated that a gate was put around the patio with a padded lock.  She said the tenants feel this is a fire hazard.

She said the tenant’s last issue is the washing machines; they need to be replaced because they keep ruining people’s clothes.


Mr. McNeil said this is the first time he is hearing of these issues.  He said if there is a problem that it needs to be reported to the Housing Manager and if it is not resolved to come to his office and report the problems.

Linda Hammond, Apt. 8G wanted to know when renovations and upgrades are going to be done in the apartments. She stated that the toilet seats should be higher.

Mr. McNeil said we have a program to change countertops when people vacate the unit we would replace them.  He said next year we are going to replace approximately 10 countertops a year and we will start with the worst of the worst to replace first.


Theresa Sanders, Apt 2K stated that her closet doors keep going off the track and she remembers a while ago at another board meeting about looking into replacing them.

Mr. McNeil said that he does have a plan to replace the closet doors but it costs a lot of money.  He said the estimate that we have for each apartment would be $500.00.


Sharon Persel, Apt. 8A said that the vents should be clean.

Lance Hammond, Maintenance Superintendent said that if a tenant needs there vents clean in their apartment they should put in a work order to have it done.

Ms. Persel said it’s not only in our apartments it’s in the common areas.

Mr. McNeil said that he will look into it.


Ron Jackson, Apt. 7V asked the Board of Commissioners when was the last time they every went on the elevators and went walking through the hallways or look in the compactor rooms.  He encourages the Board to do that.

Commissioner Juliano said that the vents are a serious matter they should be clean at all times in the hallways could cause a fire otherwise.


Several other tenants also stated that the Security Guards are disrespectful and need additional training.



Chairman Rimes called for a motion to adopt Resolution No. 5345-15 Resolution of the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of the City of Orange Approving Bills Resolution No. 1873.  Commissioner McLeod moved to adopt. Commissioner Williams seconded.


Chairman Rimes called for discussion

Commissioner Latta inquired about Bug Eliminators Invoices. She wanted to know why we are paying a monthly contract and also paying separate invoices.

McNeil explained that we pay Bug Eliminators so much per month for regular exterminating services and the separate invoices are for beg bug exterminating at individual apartments which is a separate billing cost from regular extermination.

Commissioner Latta also questioned CESCO invoices and wanted knows why if we are paying him by the month for services there is an additional charge for $185.00.  She wanted to know what that was for.

Mr. McNeil said we also have a contract with CESCO and he receives so much per month for servicing the elevators.  The additional cost of $185.00 is for a part that was broken.

Commissioner Latta asked about Feinstein, Raiss, Kelin & Booker’s invoices.  She said the monthly service is so much per month what is the additional cost that is stated on the bill list.

McNeil stated that we have a contract with them per month to provide legal services.  The extra cost is for when he does additional investigative services on behalf of the Agency.

Commissioner Garrett inquired about the water bill at 170 Taylor Street.

Mr. Gary Gordon Counsel for the Board of Commissioners said that we can’t discuss this in public session as it was explained at prior meetings.

Chairman Rimes asked that the Board to take that bill off the bills list.

Mr. McNeil explained that if it was not paid the water can be cut off and interest would accrue on the outstanding balance and the others resident would be unfairly impacted.

Commissioner Garrett asked if the tenants can be responsible for their water.

Mr. McNeil said that there is only one meter for the house and they are looking into the cost to separate the meters or a device to measure consumption by each unit.

Chairman Rimes said that we shouldn’t pay the bill until we look into this.

Mr. McNeil said again that the interest would be accrued and possibly shut off if we don’t pay the bill.


A roll call was taken

All Commissioners voted in favor except for Chairman Rimes.


Chairman Rimes called for a motion to adopt Resolution No. 5346-15 Resolution No. 5347-15 Resolution of the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of the City of Orange Authorizing an Amendment to the Executive Directors Contract and Approving his Appraisal for 2013 and 2014.  Commissioner Ross moved to adopt.  Commissioner Williams seconded.


Chairman Rimes called for discussion

No discussion

A roll call was taken

All Commissioners voted in favor



Commissioner Ross inquired about the Resident Association meetings and how they communicate their concerns with management.

Commissioner Ross wanted to know why the parking lot gate does not close automatically and on a timer.

Mr. McNeil stated due to residents hitting the gate and the pole the system is temporarily out of order and we are looking into a different system.

Commissioner Ross stated that he would like to see Tony Polcari at one of the meetings to discuss RAD and the financial impact on the Agency.

Mr. McNeil would arrange for him to meet with the Board however, he believed that the Finance Committee setup a meeting prior to the next board meeting.

Commissioner Ross also said we should think about a retreat.  He said the last time we had a retreat it was very successful and we went over our mission and strategy.  He said it would also provide the new Commissioners the opportunity to better understand the dynamics of the Agency.

Mr. McNeil said that he will look into that.

Commissioner Garrett suggested that the hallway ventilation issue be addressed as well as the tenants having difficulty with the washing machines.

Commissioner Latta suggested that the Security Department go for additional training.

Mr. McNeil said that he will look into the Security issues.


Chairman Rimes called for a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Commissioner Williams moved to adjourn. Commissioner McLeod seconded.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:22 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Walter D. McNeil, Jr.