Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Housing Authority terminates executive director

Posted By on Tue, Aug 7, 2012 at 12:15 PM

FIRED: Shelly Ehenger
  • FIRED: Shelly Ehenger
The Little Rock Housing Authority voted unanimously after an executive session today to fire Shelly Ehenger as the director of what is now known as the Metropolitan Housing Alliance. She'd been directorat the agency for 17 years and made about $100,000 a year. NOTE CORRECTION: She had not been director for 17 years.

Ehenger was suspended in May over a variety of personnel conflicts within the agency. Arkie Byrd, a Little Rock lawyer, was hired to conduct an independent review. The Board acted after considering the report she'd prepared. That report has not been released, despite the decision to fire, because Ehenger says she wants to appeal her firing. Under Arkansas law, information that forms the basis for a firing shall be released under the open records law, but employees have an interim period while challenging a firing in which records may be withheld. My source says there's no provision in agency rules for an appeal of a firing of the executive director, but the agency legal counsel has recommended withholding the records for the time being while the board decides on whether to consider an appeal.

The Authority, a city-appointed board that oversees the federally supported housing agency, voted, with all members present, to find a consultant to help manage the agency on an interim basis for 90 days while a search is undertaken for new leadership. Ron Hooks has been the interim leader. The board also voted to reinstate the suspended director of human resources, Kim Travis, during which she'd report directly to the board for a 90-day period. Ehenger's suspension of Travis was at the root of events that led to today's vote. Travis had complained about being left out of personnel decisions and made other complaints about Ehenger's leadership.

The Authority will have a special meeting tomorrow on whether to consider an appeal from Ehenger to reconsider the case. If it does not, the report by Arkie Byrd should be available.

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