Connecticut Seal

Substitute House Bill No. 6461

Public Act No. 11-203

AN ACT CONCERNING THE SELECTION OF TENANT COMMISSIONERS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 8-41 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2011):

(a) For purposes of this section, a "tenant of the authority" means a tenant who lives in housing owned or managed by a housing authority or who is receiving housing assistance in a housing program directly administered by such authority. When the governing body of a municipality other than a town adopts a resolution as described in section 8-40, it shall promptly notify the chief executive officer of such adoption. Upon receiving such notice, the chief executive officer shall appoint five persons who are residents of said municipality as commissioners of the authority, except that [where the authority operates more than three thousand units] the chief executive officer may appoint two additional persons who are residents of the municipality if (1) the authority operates more than three thousand units, or (2) upon the appointment of a tenant commissioner pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the additional appointments are necessary to achieve compliance with 24 CFR 964.415 or section 9-167a. If the governing body of a town adopts such a resolution, such body shall appoint five persons who are residents of said town as commissioners of the authority created for such town, except that such body may appoint two additional persons who are residents of the town if, upon the appointment of a tenant commissioner pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the additional appointments are necessary to achieve compliance with 24 CFR 964.415 or section 9-167a. The commissioners who are first so appointed shall be designated to serve for a term of either one, two, three, four or five years, except that if the authority has five members, the terms of not more than one member shall expire in the same year. Terms shall commence on the first day of the month next succeeding the date of their appointment, and annually thereafter a commissioner shall be appointed to serve for five years except that any vacancy which may occur because of a change of residence by a commissioner, removal of a commissioner, resignation or death shall be filled for the unexpired portion of the term. If a governing body increases the membership of the authority on or after July 1, 1995, such governing body shall, by resolution, provide for a term of five years for each such additional member. The term of the chairman shall be three years. At least one of such commissioners of an authority having five members, and at least two of such commissioners of an authority having more than five members, shall be a tenant or tenants [who live in housing owned or managed by such authority, if any exists, provided that any such tenant shall have resided in such housing for more than one year or is a tenant who previously resided in such housing for more than one year and is receiving housing assistance in a housing program directly administered by such authority and provided further that no such tenant shall have the authority to vote on any matter concerning the establishment or revision of the rents to be charged in any housing owned or managed by such authority] of the authority selected pursuant to subsection (c) of this section. If, on October 1, 1979, a municipality has adopted a resolution as described in section 8-40, but has no tenants serving as commissioners, the chief executive officer of a municipality other than a town or the governing body of a town shall appoint a tenant who meets the qualifications set out in this section as a commissioner of such authority when the next vacancy occurs. No commissioner of an authority may hold any public office in the municipality for which the authority is created. A commissioner shall hold office until [his] said commissioner's successor is appointed and has qualified. A certificate of the appointment or reappointment of any commissioner shall be filed with the clerk and shall be conclusive evidence of the legal appointment of such commissioner, after [he] said commissioner has taken an oath in the form prescribed in the first paragraph of section 1-25. The powers of each authority shall be vested in the commissioners thereof. Three commissioners shall constitute a quorum if the authority consists of five commissioners. Four commissioners shall constitute a quorum if the authority consists of more than five commissioners. Action may be taken by the authority upon a vote of not less than a majority of the commissioners present, unless the bylaws of the authority require a larger number. The chief executive officer, or, in the case of an authority for a town, the governing body of the town, shall designate which of the commissioners shall be the first chairman, but when the office of chairman of the authority becomes vacant, the authority shall select a chairman from among its commissioners. An authority shall select from among its commissioners a vice chairman, and it may employ a secretary, who shall be executive director, and technical experts and such other officers, agents and employees, permanent and temporary, as it requires, and shall determine their qualifications, duties and compensation, provided, in municipalities having a civil service law, all appointments and promotions, except the employment of the secretary, shall be based on examinations given and lists prepared under such law, and, except so far as may be inconsistent with the terms of this chapter, such civil service law and regulations adopted thereunder shall apply to such housing authority and its personnel. For such legal services as it requires, an authority may employ its own counsel and legal staff. An authority may delegate any of its powers and duties to one or more of its agents or employees. A commissioner, or any employee of the authority who handles its funds, shall be required to furnish an adequate bond. The commissioners shall serve without compensation, but shall be entitled to reimbursement for their actual and necessary expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties.

(b) The authority shall designate a tenant organization as the recognized jurisdiction-wide tenant organization only if (1) the members of the governing board of such tenant organization were elected through a jurisdiction-wide election, and (2) such tenant organization satisfies the requirements for elected jurisdiction-wide resident councils pursuant to regulations promulgated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, except that a tenant of the authority shall be eligible to vote in any election for the governing board of such tenant organization and to serve on the governing board of such tenant organization without regard to whether such tenant receives or lives in housing that receives federal assistance. Any tenant organization that has been designated by the authority as the recognized jurisdiction-wide tenant organization may select tenants for appointment as tenant commissioner in accordance with subsection (c) of this section.

[(b)] (c) [Any tenant organization composed of tenants residing within units owned or managed by the appointing authority may indicate to such authority its desire to be notified of any pending appointment of any such commissioner. A reasonable time before appointing any such commissioner, the appointing authority shall notify any such tenant organization and, in making such appointment, such authority shall consider tenants suggested by such tenant organizations. ] (1) Not less than sixty days before the appointment of any tenant commissioner or the expiration of the term of any tenant commissioner, whichever is earlier, the housing authority shall notify all tenant organizations comprised of tenants residing within units owned or managed by such housing authority and all tenants of such authority of such pending appointment or expiration of term. The notice shall include information concerning procedures by which tenants may petition for an election pursuant to this subsection.

(2) The appointee as tenant commissioner shall be selected by a fair election of the tenants of the authority if, not more than thirty days after the authority notifies such tenants of a pending appointment or expiration of term pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection, ten per cent of the tenants of the authority or seventy-five tenants of the authority, whichever is less, petition the authority for an election.

(3) If the tenants of the authority have not petitioned for an election pursuant to subdivision (2) of this subsection, then the appointee as tenant commissioner shall be selected by the recognized jurisdiction-wide tenant organization, if any, by means provided for in the by-laws adopted by such tenant organization. Such means may include, without limitation, a fair election by the tenants of the authority or selection by the governing board of such tenant organization.

(4) If an appointee as tenant commissioner has not been selected by an election of the tenants of the authority or by other means pursuant to the by-laws adopted by the recognized jurisdiction-wide tenant organization by the date ninety days after the date the housing authority provides notice of a pending appointment or expiration of term pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection, then the appointing authority shall select the appointee. In making such selection, the appointing authority shall consider any tenant recommended by any tenant organization within its jurisdiction or the jurisdiction-wide tenant organization.

(5) The housing authority shall provide all tenants of the authority with written notice of any election conducted pursuant to this subsection or subsection (b) of this section not later than thirty days before the date of such election. For any election conducted pursuant to this subsection for an authority having more than five commissioners, the housing authority may establish qualifications for the second tenant commissioner as necessary to achieve compliance with 24 CFR 964.415 or section 9-167a.

(d) For any election conducted pursuant to subsection (c) of this section, the housing authority shall use its best efforts to secure an impartial entity to administer such election. To the extent practicable, such impartial entity shall be selected with the agreement of the recognized jurisdiction-wide tenant organization, if any. In the event of a dispute concerning the procedure for or results of such election, any person may petition the entity administering such election for a resolution of such dispute.

[(c)] (e) Notwithstanding any provision of subsection (a) of this section or any other provision of the general statutes, [to the contrary,] a commissioner of an authority may serve as a justice of the peace or a registrar of voters.

Approved July 13, 2011