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Council will not sever ties with CAO

A resolution proposed by Ironton City Council members Hugh Scott and Bob Vaughn was shot down after a heated debate at Thursday’s council meeting.

Friday, February 23, 2001

A resolution proposed by Ironton City Council members Hugh Scott and Bob Vaughn was shot down after a heated debate at Thursday’s council meeting.

The two councilmen proposed the city terminate its contract with the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, stemming from a recommendation of an audit conducted by the federal Housing and Urban Development Inspector General’s office, published in November 2000.

Currently, the CAO group manages the city’s Community Development Block Grant Program. CAO has managed the grant since 1981, when the council passes a delegation agreement granting the CAO authority to manage the grant.

The audit conducted by HUD outlined several deficiencies in the way the money was being handled. Keith Molihan, the executive director of the CAO, was present at the meeting defending the actions of his organization.

Molihan told council the items outlined in the audit were "allegations" that the CAO group will address in a response to the HUD audit.

Molihan and Scott became involved in an exchange of words regarding the issue. Molihan told Scott the CAO has not "made a mess of things." He also told Scott that he believes some of the wording in the resolution was "libelous."

Councilman Bob Lipker attempted a motion to table the resolution for a decision at a later date. Lipker said he wanted to wait until the CAO responds to the audit before council votes. The motion only received a second after chairman Jim Tordiff removed himself as chair so he could second the motion. The motion to table did not pass.

Before council voted on the issue an Ironton resident attempted to interject during council’s discussion of the issue. Tordiff told the resident the audience participation part of the agenda had closed . The resident made another attempt to make a statement when Tordiff asked Ironton Police Department Capt. Bill Garland to inform the resident that the audience discussion part of the agenda had passed. Before Garland spoke, however, the resident walked out of the meeting.

Council then took the resolution to a vote where it was voted down. The resolution only received two yes votes, those of Scott and Vaughn.

Molihan left the meeting early and attempts to contact him before presstime were unsuccessful.


The audit also alleges that CAO:


"did not follow HUD’s or the State’s requirements to publicly advertise the procurement of services and equipment."


"CAO frequently provided assistance to households that exceed HUD’s income guidelines despite having documentation showing that the occupants exceed the required guidelines for low to moderate income individuals."


"The CAO provided assistance to several properties without obtaining any documentation to show assisted households met the income requirements."


"The CAO allowed its Housing Specialists’ sister, mother, and mother-in-law to receive a total of $41,006 in housing rehabilitation assistance"