INDIANAPOLIS -- Leaders of the embattled Indianapolis Housing Agency began Tuesday's public meeting by disclosing that they need to fix broken surveillance cameras after Call 6 Investigates began asking questions.
For months the agency's internal reports warned of the problem, but management did nothing.
The initial response to Call 6 was downplayed, even though we had copies of internal records that detailed the extent of the problem.
During Tuesday's meeting at the 16 Park Community Building located at 546 East 17th Street, interim Executive Director Jennifer Green talked about the camera issue and said no media questions would be taken after the public meeting.
Green mentioned that a day is being planned in at a future date to address media questions. No date was provided, though a spokesperson said it would be "in a few weeks."
Call 6 Investigates' Rafael Sanchez approached IHA Board Chair Christopher Barney who walked away and interim Executive Director Green to ask about the cameras and other proposals voted on during the public meeting involving an agency which receives millions in tax dollars.
His attempted discussion with Mr. Barney and Ms. Green are below:
"Rafael: Mr. Barney, Ms. Green good evening. Ma'am, you talked about surveillance cameras. When do plan to have that addressed?"
Green: Mr. Sanchez, I made my comments at the beginning that we would be getting back to you. I'm sorry, my voice is gone."
Rafael: I understand you have some voice issues. Is there a timeline for those cameras.
Green: I don't have a timeline right now.
Rafael: Is there a budget to fix them.
Green: We have the money."
Call 6 Investigates also wanted to ask about public safety issues and several of the proposals the IHA board voted on Tuesday.
Proposals 37 through proposal 43 involved contracts, loans or initiatives in the hundreds of thousands of dollars to benefit the residents of IHA properties. Two separate proposals, 41 and 42, involved funding and programs to help the homeless at a time the city is looking for ways to get families off the streets.
IHA made no one in leadership available to discuss any of its votes or existing issues.
Below is a bit of the continued attempt at an open conversation:
"Green: We are going to have that meeting and sit down with all media and have any questions answered."
Rafael: Can I ask you about the uptick in crime?
Green: No thank you.
Rafael: Can we ask you about the golf trip?
Rafael: Ma'am, you aware this is a public meeting. We are trying to asking questions and do that. The last time I was directed to the Mayor's office. Do I need to call Mayor Hogsett again."
Call 6 Investigates was also unable to ask about the extension Green said the agency received from the Office of the Inspector General to response to one of its reviews.
The Indianapolis Housing Agency is under a lot of pressure since the resignation of its previous executive director. The agency is facing several federal reviews, and the Mayor of Indianapolis has signaled his expectation of leadership changes at the agency as he leads a national search for a permanent executive director.
It is also likely that Board members appointed by the previous Republican mayor are looking at their final months of service as an IHA Commissioner.