So much for that "leave."
Even though commissioners of the Housing Authority of Maricopa County voted yesterday in no uncertain terms to strip Doug Lingner of his duties as the agency's executive director, pending the outcome of an investigation, Lingner personally greeted employees at an "emergency" staff meeting this morning -- and his supposed "interim director" made it clear, those employees say, that Lingner is still the boss.
SEE OUR UPDATE AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST
Indeed, our phone has been ringing off the hook with calls from employees and their friends, who tell us that the agency appears to be operating in defiance of the commissioners' directives.
They tell New Times that after the meeting yesterday, in which Lingner was placed on paid leave and told to have no contact with employees or agency files, the one-time Phoenix city councilman simply didn't leave the agency's campus.
We're told he was there last night until early evening -- at least four hours after the conclusion of the commissioners meeting.
Then, this morning, our sources allege, staffers were summoned to an all-agency meeting. Not only was Lingner in attendance, our sources say, but Interim Director Karen Mofford took pains to stress that he was still the boss.
Lingner is still executive director, Mofford told employees, stressing that her role is merely "interim." She also explained that Lingner would continue to work on the agency's grant proposal for stimulus funds -- and also its newly formed nonprofit development arm, too. One of sources told us that Lingner also plans to keep office hours, although the others couldn't confirm that.
The commissioners had approved plans for Lingner to continue to assist with a stimulus fund proposal, but had made it clear that any contact with other employees was to be through Mofford.
Commissioners did not address the status of Lingner's company car -- a Ford Focus -- but employees tell New Times that he remains at the wheel.
"It was announced that he was still the director, still in charge, and would be keeping regular business hours there," one of our sources reports. "I guess the rules don't apply to him."
Mofford, the agency's interim director, responded to our e-mail soon after this post went live.
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"You have been misinformed. Doug is still an employee of HAMC. Based on the board's action of yesterday, Doug was placed on admin leave. Doug is to be available during normal business hours to assist with the ongoing HAMC business, including but not limited to [stimulus funds and nonprofit development], as directed by me. ... Per Doug's employment agreement, he is provided a company vehicle."
We'll also be attempting to reach the commissioners later today.
Lingner faces allegations of nepotism, as well as allegations that he misstated information on a grant proposal to HUD, hired a former colleague from his time on the Phoenix City Council, and fired classified employees to make room for family members. You can read our cover story here.