STEUBENVILLE - The Jefferson Metropolitan Housing Authority board of commissioners met for 90 minutes behind closed doors Wednesday afternoon with city resident and retired Drug Enforcement Agency supervisor Jim Mavromatis.
But the board took no public action following the executive session called to discuss personnel.
Board Chairman Les Zapor said a special board meeting may be scheduled.
Steubenville City Manager Cathy Davison provided the JMHA board members with a copy of a letter that U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, hand- delivered Tuesday to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan requesting an investigation into alleged criminal activities at public housing sites and federally subsidized Section 8 housing units in the city.
JMHA Executive Director Joe Costantini said he had a "very positive meeting with a staff representative from Congressman Johnson's office."
"She was here to get information about some of the obstacles we face," Costantini told the board.
"We only have six security guards for 900 properties. We need more security guards and police officers to patrol our properties," cited Commissioner Ruel Mitchell.
"I agree. When the uniformed police walked around our sites we had the most impact. When the funding for those officers stopped we started seeing problems," noted Costantini.
In other business, the board could not reach an agreement on choosing an energy audit firm.
Mitchell and Commissioner Charles Lewis voted in favor of the Honeywell Corp. to perform the energy audit, while Zapor and Commissioner David Hindman favored the Tenth Avenue Group of Aliquippa, Pa.
"I have been in favor of the Tenth Avenue Group. They have experience and the difference in their fees for the work overshadows Honeywell. The Tenth Avenue Group is very capable of doing this work. They also plan to use local contractors to perform some of the actual work and I am in favor of using local contractors," said Zapor.
The Tenth Avenue Group submitted a $7,500, bid while the bid from Honeywell came in at $39,000.
But according to Mitchell, "Honeywell is a larger company with a larger support staff. I was in the same position as these guys just starting out with a new company. This is your first job. I believe Honeywell will do a good job."
Costantini was instructed to write a letter to all of the bidders interested in the energy audit project asking them to extend their bid for another 30 days.
"I would like to see a meeting called and all of the bidders invited to be here. I want to see everyone at the same time to be fair," cited Lewis.
R. Andrew Why, the principal partner of the Tenth Avenue Group, said he helped start his company to work with smaller agencies such as the JMHA.
"This is not a $50 million project. Honeywell is interested in larger contracts not the smaller contracts," said Why.
The board approved the Mansuetto Roofing Co. of Martins Ferry for a $202,950 roof replacement project at the Bridgeview Apartment complex in Steubenville.
But the board rejected a $129,000 bid from E. M. Mullins of Bloomingdale for the replacement of the rear entrance canopy at the John F. Kennedy apartment building on North Sixth Street.
Mitchell said the bid was more than 10 percent above the architect's estimate.
The board approved naming the playground at the Earl Rodgers public housing complex in Steubenville's South End to honor former JMHA employee William E. Padgett, who died unexpectedly in May. The naming of the playground is contingent on approval by Padgett's family.
And the JMHA commissioners re-elected Zapor as board chairman and elected Mitchell as vice chairman.