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Appointment Of Housing Board Chair In Doubt

Local officials are investigating whether the chair of the public housing board in Champaign County was ever officially appointed to the term she is currently serving.

Margaret Neil was appointed to the Housing Authority of Champaign County in 2009 to fill out an unexpired term. But it’s not clear if she was ever formally appointed to serve a full five year term in 2010.

Champaign County Board Chair Al Kurtz says he’s looking into the matter, after former housing board member Terry Townsend raised questions.

He says he wants to know what it would mean to Housing Authority business over the last three years if Neil lacked a legally binding appointment.

“What the ramifications are, I don’t even want to contemplate at this point", said Kurtz. "I’m not really actually sure what would take place. But we’re going to have to sit down with HUD and the mayors of Champaign-Urbana to make sure this process is corrected, for the future at least. “

Kurtz says he hasn't been able to communicate with federal Housing and Urbana Development officials on Friday, because it's a furlough day for HUD employees, due to the federal budget sequester.

If it turns out Neil doesn’t have any legal status on the housing board, Kurtz says he’d like to see her reappointed to her seat retroactively.

Five of the seven members of the Housing Authority of Champaign County are appointed by the mayors of Champaign and Urbana. One is appointed by the Champaign County Board Chairman and one by the Housing Authority’s Resident Advisory board.

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