With several swift swings of the hatchet (and reportedly more to come), Raymond Fonseca is doing what most government officials have been too faint-hearted to do — getting rid of top-heavy, unnecessary and redundant management at his agency, the V.I. Housing Authority.
Under a mandate from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to reduce the VIHA budget by $3 million, Fonseca didn't flinch at firing highly paid and likely under-worked administrative and management personnel at the authority.
Here's the justification he gave: "To eliminate the deficit, an analysis was done of the management structure and efficiency at VIHA. We have a structure where the executive director supervises five super-directors. The five super-directors supervise 11 department directors. Those 11 department directors supervise nine chiefs and six managers, who supervise eight superintendents that supervise maintenance foremen, and we also have 22 housing managers … That is six levels of supervision and a wholesale waste of public funds."
We say amen to that.
Fonseca, with the backing of his board, is giving control and oversight of the housing communities back to the housing managers, where we believe they belong. He saved the jobs of maintenance workers, who we assume actually have job descriptions and perform them.
We are not saying that some of those caught in the firings weren't excellent workers with important functions. However, we believe Fonseca gave thought to how to best redistribute the work more cost-effectively.
We also believe many of those fired and soon to be fired have served at very high salaries in what amounted to sinecure positions.
We cannot commend Fonseca highly enough for his wisdom and his courage.
There will surely be backlash from politicians who have utilized the Housing Authority to provide plum jobs for cronies and relatives, but we fully support Fonseca and pray that he sticks to his convictions on this one.
We hope that the top executives of other government agencies follow his lead, starting with the Education Department.
Publisher's note : Like the St. Croix Source now? Find out how you can love us twice as much — and show your support for the islands' free and independent news voice… click here.