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Baltimore City Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano to resign

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Posted at 10:17 AM, Dec 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-21 06:31:13-05
Paul Graziano survived the first public call to fire him just a month into the job in December 2000 after he launched into a drunken, homophobic tirade in a Fells Point bar.
 
Almost 15 years later, a sex-for-repairs scandal and deplorable conditions in public housing complexes may have sealed his fate.
 
Mayor Catherine Pugh announced Tuesday that she has accepted the Baltimore housing commissioner's resignation effective Jan. 6.
 
"This was a campaign promise that I'd made some time ago that I thought it was important that the city go in a different direction as it relates to its housing department,” said Pugh, “I said it all along that I thought it was important that we look at separating HABC AND HCD and that we change our direction."
 
Graziano has worn two hats heading up both the federal Housing Authority and the city's Department of Housing and Community Development, but the mayor isn't satisfied with either one.
 
"We're supposed to accommodate those who are homeless.  We're supposed to make sure that people who need public housing are able to get it,” Pugh said. “Our rolls are swollen and people can't get into public housing.  So we keep building shelter after shelter.  So there needs to be a clear vision around what the city's needs are."
 
Pugh also wants better amenities across the board---not just in select neighborhoods, but in every neighborhood.
 
Perhaps as a testament to the task at hand, it does not appears one single hire can replace the outgoing housing commissioner.
 
"We've decided that we're going to separate those two agencies so obviously there'll be two people.  I may be looking for three people---somebody to oversee both agencies,” the mayor said. “So we've got our national search out there and I'll be very clear in terms of vision and direction."
 
Deputy Commissioner Michael Bravermen will serve as interim commissioner during the national search.
 
Meanwhile, the mayor says the commissioner will leave with a pay out of about $116,000 to cover what remains on his contract and the personal days that he has accrued.
 

Scandal rocked Baltimore Housing last year amid reports of deplorable living conditions in public housing structures, and a federal lawsuit that accused maintenance workers of demanding sex from women in exchange for repairs.

Nineteen women filed the lawsuit. A settlement was reached earlier this year.

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