Three new members appointed to Mission housing board

Three new members were appointed to the Mission Housing Authority board of commissioners last week to replace the board members whose terms expired this month.

Mission Mayor Armando O’Caña appointed Jesus Cantu, Joe Louis Sanchez and Everardo “Vere” Gomez and Joe Louis Sanchez to the board for terms that begin Jan. 15, 2020, and run through Dec. 15, 2021.

Sanchez, who unsuccessfully ran for city council in 2016, said he had long-wanted to serve on the housing board and hoped to bring a fresh perspective.

“The housing authority has so much potential and I don’t see them very involved with the tenants who live in Mission,” Sanchez said. “I think a change in leadership — a different vision, bringing in new people — can bring some fresher ideas.”

He and the other two new commissioners join Commissioners Irma Flores Lopez and Connie Garza who were appointed by O’Caña and sworn in earlier this year.

The outgoing commissioners — Guadalupe Ozuna, Ricardo Garcia and Chairman Romeo De La Garza — were appointed by former Mission Mayor Norberto “Beto” Salinas and often found themselves at odds with Flores Lopez and Garza.

However, Garza said that was all “water under the bridge.”

“We want to work as a team and to remain focused with the goals that we want to set and the direction that we want to go,” Garza said.

In addition to the new board members, the housing authority is expected to have a new executive director as the current executive director, Joel A. Gonzalez, said he would not remain past the expiration of his contract on Jan. 3.

“It will give us a fresh start with a different board and different leadership,” she said. “I’m excited about the opportunity to work with them and (about) the new focus that we want to give in the Mission Housing Authority, but it has to be a collective effort.”

The new board will decide on the qualifications and the extent of the search they want to have for the new executive director when they meet again in January.

“Sometimes disagreeing and having different points of view is healthy — provided that there’s mutual respect — but at the end of the day, (in) the decisions that are made, that we keep in mind the goals for the housing authority” Garza said. “I feel very confident that this board will be able to accomplish that.”

The new board members will be sworn in on Jan. 6.