NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ—The city's Housing Authority has lost another member of its powerful Board of Commissioners due to an issue with her eligibility to serve in the position.
Ida Brangman had lived in the newer of two senior buildings known as Providence Square, located at 55 Harvey Street and was the only "resident" commissioner on the NBHA board.
Brangman served on the NBHA board since January 2011, but had not attended a board meeting in over a year.
The NBHA operates four public housing projects in New Brunswick, as well as a "Section 8" housing voucher program. The authority also serves as the city's redevelopment agency, and plays a key role in reviewing projects intended for "redevelopment areas."
According to the NJ Housing Authority Commissioners Handbook, "the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998 requires that a recipient of the Housing Authority services be a member of the Board of Commissioners."
"Ida Brangman moved out of her subsidized unit in July 2015 and became ineligible as resident commissioner, therefore she no longer serves on the board," said Jennifer Bradshaw, a spokesperson for Mayor James Cahill.
"She was not showing up to meetings. I didn't know the reason for that, and if it's because she moved out, then so be it," said Mayor Cahill, in an exclusive interview with New Brunswick Today.
Brangman had not been present at an NBHA board meeting since April 23, 2014, according to public records.
"I was told that we needed to replace her, and I got that information from the housing authority," said Cahill.
According to his spokesperson, Brangman never officially resigned.
"She did not submit an official resignation, but due to her ineligibility, the Mayor moved to find a replacement commissioner to fill the seat," said Bradshaw.
However, Brangman's seat on the board is one that is supposed to be appointed by the City Council. By law, seven members of the board are appointed by the Council, one by the Mayor, and one by the Governor.
Brangman's departure comes in the wake of NBHA Board Chairman Luis Gonzalez abruptly quitting the board after he admitted to New Brunswick Today he does not live in New Brunswick, as required by city ordinance.
After Gonzalez's departure became public on August 5, New Brunswick Today asked Bradshaw if any other board members had resigned. She said no.
But weeks later, Brangman's picture had been removed from the NBHA website and this reporter asked Executive Director John Clarke for answers.
"I would recommend that you contact the appointing entity for information on their appointments," said Clarke, declining to give any information or copies of resignation letters.
For his part, Mayor Cahill said that anyone with information about board members who may be ineligible to serve in a position they hold should make his administration aware of it.
"Of course, if anybody knows that, at any given time, whether or not somebody doesn't meet the criteria, they're encouraged to let us know so that we can take whatever corrective action may be appropriate," said Cahill.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick.