Coalition, including Marin Housing Authority employees, successfully pushes board not to approve contract with Nan McKay
Tuesday, January 30, Marin Housing Authority (MHA) employees, MHA residents, and Marin County taxpayers flooded the Board of Commissioners meeting. They successfully pushed the Board to postpone renewing its contract with Nan McKay, an incompetent subcontracting firm that has been replacing union jobs and terrorizing residents.
Since the lapse of its union contract with SEIU 1021, MHA has been under scrutiny for its opaque interactions with Nan McKay. MHA has refused to provide basic information about the exact scale of its relationship with Nan McKay, the financial specifics of their agreement, and what oversight measures exist.
Carol Paige, a Marin County taxpayer, called into the Marin Housing Authority Board meeting to reflect: ”I’m aware that the County has been increasing the practice of contracting out. This normalization of contracting out lacks transparency and raises questions of fiscal accountability. It looks like once again we are extending the dirty end of a short stick by extending an offer to a firm with questionable business practices…
“Maybe this Board could pay more attention to what is going on right under your noses, not look to an out-of-town private firm… It has been years of public advocacy condemning this Board’s tone deafness to the poor and Black residents living in squalor in public housing. Please do not compound bias by adding fiscal irresponsibility.”
Ultimately, MHA’s lack of transparency and oversight regarding their contractors harms MHA’s residents.
MHA resident Cheryl Lynne Rubbo gave public comment: ”Ten years ago, my mother was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. For six months, I took care of my mother, until she passed away – and my husband was very, very sick also. I’m so grateful we had this housing… I have always filled out my paperwork… I thought everything was fine. But months later, [Nan McKay] sent a letter saying I was being evicted. I had no idea why, and it was very traumatic…We would have been on the streets living homeless again…I called, and I was told Nan McKay didn’t even bother to find my paperwork.”
Nan McKay is also currently embroiled in a $32.4 million lawsuit with the San Francisco Housing Authority. The lawsuit alleges Nan McKay failed to deliver the housing services it had committed to providing there.
Nancy Binzen, another Marin County taxpayer, gave public comment. She reflected, “While [MHA Executive Director Kimberly Carroll] said there’s no similarity between Nan McKay’s work in San Francisco and the contract with MHA, that is not true…The problems in San Francisco are identical to many of the complaints about Nan McKay that the Marin Housing Authority has heard from its residents for years…If you did approve another contract with Nan McKay, you would be breaching your fiduciary responsibility to our county.”
Melanie Raquel spoke from the perspective of an MHA case manager working with formerly homeless residents who also suffer from mental health disorders. She said, “Our community cannot be effectively served by some faceless, anonymous person in Chicago, Florida, or San Diego that doesn’t care about what happens after the call ends, that lacks true knowledge of the consequences of their actions, and that cannot truly be held accountable. That’s what we expect from Comcast. This cannot be how someone relies on having a stable home.”
Carrie Smith spoke from the perspective of an MHA housing locator. “I work with a Spanish-speaking single mom with three children. After her recertification, Nan McKay entered her paperwork wrong and charged her an extra $3100 in rent. Later, Nan Mckay erroneously terminated her voucher.”
At the beginning of the MHA Board of Commissioners meeting, the tone was jovial, and the Commissioners nonchalantly spoke as though renewal of their Nan McKay contract would be an obvious procedural vote. However, after almost an hour of public testimony and discussion with MHA employees, MHA residents, and Marin County taxpayers, the tone of the meeting became much more serious. The Board debated at length about what to do.
In the end, the MHA Board decided not to approve its contract with Nan McKay. Supervisor Stephanie Moulton-Peters suggested that they could wait two more weeks without a Nan McKay contract and that staff needed to come back with an action plan on how to move the work in-house and to another contractor.