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Commission Votes To Oust Embattled Head of SF Housing Authority

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Henry Alvarez (San Francisco Mayor's Office of Housing)

Henry Alvarez (San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing)

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Anna started her broadcasting career at KCBS in 1994, a few mont...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — At a private meeting on Tuesday, the San Francisco Housing Authority Board of Commissioners fired Henry Alvarez, the agency’s embattled director.

The Tuesday afternoon meeting allowed city officials to authorize the termination of Alvarez’s $210,000 contract.

Alvarez has been on leave since February after it was revealed he was the subject of a series of employee lawsuits for retaliation and discrimination as well as a complaint for bullying subordinates.

Joaquin Torres, president of the commission, said firing Alvarez was part of meeting the authority’s obligation to the 41,000 San Franciscans who live in public housing.

“After serious deliberation and through review of the facts, I believe that it’s time to act and show that we are serious about moving forward and starting anew,” said Torres.

The firing comes as the San Francisco Housing Authority was ranked by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as one of the worst in the nation. The agency is in such financial disarray that it could run out of money in May, according to a San Francisco Chronicle report.

Torres said the commission is working to strengthen its relationship with federal housing officials. “To find ourselves on the troubled list, looking at a mounting deficit, deeply impacted by the cost of a federal sequestration in a place like San Francisco, it’s simply unacceptable,” he said.

“The Housing Authority has had so many problems over the course of the last dozen years or even more than that in regards to people who run the agency,” said Peter Keane, law professor at Hastings College of the Law and Golden Gate University School of Law. “It’s just been rife with all sorts of problems.”

Alvarez was due to be eligible for his pension on April 30th even though his termination is effective immediately. A spokesperson from the housing authority said the details of his contract and specific situation need to be reviewed to determine if he will get his pension.

Under the original terms of the contract, he would have been eligible for a state pension of about $23,000 a year for life.

While he has been on paid leave, Alvarez made it known that he planned to open a restaurant in Berkeley at the beginning of May.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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