Video: Scenes from explosive Morristown Housing Authority meeting

Morristown Housing Commissioners Vera White, Dorothy Holman, Mary Dougherty and Frank Vitolo. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morristown Housing Commissioners Vera White, Dorothy Holman, Mary Dougherty and Frank Vitolo. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Video: Scenes from explosive MHA meeting

By Kevin Coughlin

Here are video scenes from Monday’s tumultuous Morristown Housing Authority meeting — where Executive Director Roy Rogers revealed an ongoing  “federal crime investigation.”

Rogers dropped the bombshell to explain why he has asked the town council to delay appointing  a new member to the unpaid commission.

Some commissioners and residents are demanding that holdover Chairman Michael Cherello be replaced immediately with someone who lives in public housing. They say the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development requires at least one such resident on the seven-volunteer authority.

Commissioner Dorothy Holman went a step farther — angrily calling for the resignation of Commissioner Mary Dougherty, over alleged credentials issues.  Holman has been a longtime friend of Dougherty–the town Democratic chairperson–and her husband, Mayor Tim Dougherty. 

Morristown Housing Commissioners Vera White, Dorothy Holman, Mary Dougherty and Frank Vitolo. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Morristown Housing Commissioners Vera White, Dorothy Holman, Mary Dougherty and Frank Vitolo. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

Mary Dougherty, Cherello and Rogers, who outlined concerns about fiscal practices at the MHA that predate his February arrival, were offered opportunities to respond on camera to comments made at the meeting. They declined.

“There’s a lot of inaccurate information being thrown around,” Mary Dougherty said during a break in the meeting.

Some of the evening’s most heated discussions involved Rogers noting that three commissioners have spent $33,000 traveling to conferences on the west coast and Cape Cod over the last nine months.  One of those commissioners, in turn, questioned why the $154,000-a-year executive director was holding a second job with Harrison’s housing authority.

Rogers did not disclose the nature of the federal probe.

Here are the clips we captured, and where to find them on the video:

  • Executive Director Roy Rogers says he initiated a federal investigation; he can’t disclose details. 00:03
  • Commissioner Dorothy Holman declares ‘witch hunt,’ questions credentials of fellow Commissioner Mary Dougherty. 00:44
  • Resident Mary Booze questions director’s authority. 2:44
  • Dir. Rogers questions travel out-of-state travel by three commissioners; commission debates. 3:22
  • Commr. Frank Vitolo: “No one’s limiting anything.” 5:19
  • Commr. Vitolo defends Dir. Rogers. 5:33
  • Commr. Vera White questions second job of Dir. Rogers. 6:18
  • Commission Chairman Mike Cherello defends Dir. Rogers. 6:54
  • Chairman Cherello defends HUD compliance of board members, 7:40
  • Commr. White says she technically did not count as a public housing resident, so the commission still needs one. 8:43.

READ MORE ABOUT THE MORRISTOWN HOUSING AUTHORITY

 

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