Wolfe and housing board work it out

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 20, 2011



LAPLACE – St. John the Baptist Parish Housing Authority Board Chairwoman Iona Holloway and Executive Director Richard “Dale” Wolfe agreed Monday to look past their prior differences and start over in their efforts to steer the troubled agency back on the right track.

“It is a new day,” Holloway said. “In order to have a new day, the sun has to rise. In order to have a new day, you have to have a new attitude. In order to have a new day, you have to start new.”

Holloway’s comments came after a nearly hour-and-a-half executive session during the housing board’s regular meeting Monday, during which board members privately discussed disciplinary action against Wolfe. The discussion was added to the agenda after an April 12 St. John Parish Council meeting where Wolfe appeared before the council to give an update on the Housing Authority. During that appearance, Wolfe also accused Holloway and board member Art Smith of interfering with agency operations.

At the council meeting, Wolfe had taken issue with a pair of letters written to him from Holloway accusing Wolfe of various improper actions as executive director. Holloway reprimanded Wolfe for allegedly lying to board members about the cancellation of a special meeting to address Wolfe’s evaluation. She also directed Wolfe not to speak at the council meeting because he was not given proper board approval to do so.

Holloway stated in the letters that Wolfe’s “defiant and deceptive” actions would not be tolerated by the board. She said the board would consider appropriate disciplinary actions, including termination, at the next regular meeting.

The mood seemed to change Monday after the executive session, as both Holloway and Wolfe seemed to agree to put the past behind them and move forward together.

“I am trying to start new, and when you start new you put the old behind you. This is my first day. I use the word ‘me’ because I have to be the one to start new,” said Holloway.

Holloway continued by saying it has pained her to see the things that have happened in the parish’s housing developments with nothing getting done to solve the problems.

“I accepted this position because I thought I could do something to make a difference,” Holloway said. “I’m about this close to stepping down now, but I won’t do it because I think I can start a new day and a new beginning.”

The meeting was then quickly adjourned before anyone else could make a comment.

After the meeting, Wolfe offered an apology to Holloway that Holloway said she accepted. Wolfe said he and the board will move forward and leave the personal differences behind them.

“We dealt with a personal clash between Iona and me, and it is in the past,” Wolfe said. “We are going to move this agency forward. I feel better already.”