D.C. City Council member Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4) said yesterday she is preparing legislation to create an interim board to govern the city's embattled Housing Finance Agency in the wake of the resignation of six of the nine current board members.
Jarvis, chairman of the council's Housing and Economic Development Committee, said she considers the resignations "irrevocable" even though Mayor Marion Barry has not accepted them and they are not effective until Feb. 28.
Jarvis said she is conferring with other members of the housing committee and hopes to take action on a proposal today. If that happens, she said, the full council could vote on it on Tuesday.
The six members of the quasi-independent agency resigned last week after the council overrode Barry's veto of legislation stripping the housing agency of its power to approve bond issues and giving the authority to the council.
Before the council's action, HFA had the power to sell tax-exempt bonds and use the proceeds to make low-interest loans to increase the city's meager supply of low- and moderate-income housing. But Jarvis and other council members have voiced displeasure that the housing agency decided to make the loans available to second-time home buyers and to issue bonds for multifamily buildings that then are no longer under rent control provisions.
Jarvis said the new legislation would spell out the council's desire to set policy for the agency, but not to control its day-to-day operations.
Jarvis said that the interim board is needed so that the agency can continue to function.
HFA's acting executive director William Y. Kao acknowledged that "this is a period of some duress." But Kao said the agency nonetheless has produced or has plans for more than 3,400 units of multifamily housing and has provided $89 million for low-interest, single-family home mortgages.
Kao was appointed Feb. 1 after Thomas M. Zuniga resigned as executive director after paying back $2,500 in personal expenses he charged to an agency credit card.