AUBURN, Mass. – Auburn resident Wayne Page, who is also the chairman of the Council on Aging, is contacting state legislators, seeking an investigation into the Auburn Housing Authority and calling for replacing the director after the board didn’t take a vote Wednesday on an ice skating rink at Pakachoag Village and for what he calls a “cover-up” by the Housing Authority.
The Housing Authority, which owns the land next to the elderly housing units, adjourned after a two-minute meeting in front of Auburn town officials and residents, telling the interested parties that the state told them not to vote on the issue -- which contradicts what a state official told The Daily Voice after the meeting.
Matthew Sheaff, director of communications for the state Department of Housing and Community Development, said that “no one from the state advised them to not take a vote.”
As a result, Page said he is contacting state Sen. Michael Moore, D-Millbury, and state Rep. Paul Frost, R-Auburn, for an investigation into the Housing Authority.
“I’m going to see if our representatives can help us out with this matter, and hopefully they can talk to the state and see if we can work it out, so we can have a skating rink for the residents,” Page said. “It’s to the point now that we have to go above the Housing Authority’s heads and work with our state representatives and talk to the state and federal government.
“They have the authority to vote on it, and they won’t do it,” Page added. “It’s time we look into replacing some of the committee members and look into replacing the director. It looked like the director was covering things up. The town’s trying to build a bridge with the residents, and the Housing Authority just shattered it.”
Last week, the Housing Authority members expressed concerns over giving approval for the project. They said that safety could be compromised for the elderly residents at a rink between the senior housing and Senior Center.
Members decided to take a week to think it over before voting on it, and they surveyed the residents of Pakachoag Village to see if they’d be OK with an ice skating rink adjacent to their homes. Lori Brennan, executive director of the Housing Authority, said that 20 residents did not want a skating rink, 11 wanted it built and four were indifferent.
On the other hand, Page said he had favorable results from a survey he took of senior citizens at the Senior Center. There were 59 yes votes, seven no votes and seven were indifferent.
“They were very excited about the skating rink,” said Cheryl Westerman, acting director of the Senior Center. “It was something different, and they were really looking forward to it.”
Brennan was sought for comment by telephone and in-person, but she was not in the office on Thursday.