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VIHA Board Amends Bylaws, Elects New Officers

The V.I. Housing Authority board elected Noreen Michael as chairwoman and Human Services Commissioner Vivian Ebbesen-Flood as vice chairwoman on Tuesday after amending its bylaws regarding electing officers, which board members said were too cumbersome.

At the board’s last regular board meeting on Aug. 26, the election of new leadership was put on hold due to language in the bylaws that mandated the board form a nominating committee to determine a slate of candidates and to hold an election 60 days thereafter.

It was the first time the board was faced with electing new officers since the VIHA was returned to local control in 2014 after over a decade in federal receivership.

Board members agreed at that meeting that a nominating committee was unnecessary for the board’s size and that the 60-day delay served little purpose.

It was agreed that the board would hold a special meeting two weeks later at which legal counsel Adriane Dudley would present possible changes to the bylaws. Then the board would elect new officers at that time.

At Wednesday’s special board meeting, Dudley presented two possible options on how to change the body’s bylaws.

The first option, which she personally endorsed, was to remove all language referring to a nominating committee and have officers elected by a simple majority vote.

The second option was to retain the nominating committee process as a way that the board can come up with a slate of candidates if it desires, but to remove the long mandated delay.

“Given the size of the board, which is seven commissioners, I believe that a nominating committee is duplicative and unnecessary,” said Dudley.

Outgoing chairman Luis Sylvester concurred. So did Ebbesen-Flood.

A motion to adopt Dudley’s first proposal as an amendment to the bylaws passed unanimously.

Following the amendment, a vote was taken in which Michael and Ebbesen-Flood were elected to their positions unanimously. They replaced Sylvester and outgoing vice chairman George Blackhall.

Michael thanked Sylvester and Blackhall for their service during the VIHA’s period of transition back to local control.

Also present at the meeting or phoning in were board members Daphne Edwards, Colette Jones and VIHA Executive Director Robert Graham.

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