TDHCA Sunset Recommendation #1: focus board on policy

As previously discussed here at Texas Housers, TDHCA is currently undergoing Sunset Review.  We are presenting recommendations for ways to improve TDHCA that have been endorsed by a broad range of stakeholders in TDHCA’s activities.

Issue:

The TDHCA Board is distracted from policy creation by its role acting as a court of appeals to staff decisions.

Background:

In addition to setting policy, the TDHCA board both finalizes adoption of staff recommendations regarding the allocation of program funds and oversees appeals of all departmental decisions.

For example, at the April 23, 2009 meeting the transcript shows the board spent the majority of the meeting listening to appeals of staff decisions. One case dealt with enforcement of the application deadline (p. 137) for an applicant who claimed technical difficulties in the application process.  An appeal of a missed application deadline is not the optimal use of board time and resources.

Another case that day (p. 116) involved second-guessing the staff’s enforcement of the requirement of ceiling fans in tax credit properties and a request for an exemption from that requirement for a specific property.  While re-consideration of the general requirement of ceiling fans in participating properties could be considered a policy matter, the specific exemption of a single property is not.  Examining individual claims for exemption is not the optimal use of board time and resources.

Recommendation:

Separate the appeals process from the scheduled board meetings.

We recommend the creation of a TDHCA appeals board.  One member of the TDHCA board (“the appeals board liaison”) would sit on the TDHCA appeals board. Each TDHCA board member other than the appeals board liaison would appoint one other member of the appeals board.  The chair of the appeals board should be an appeals board member other than the appeals board liaison.

This board would provide a mechanism for oversight of staff decisions while allowing the TDHCA board to focus on setting policy for the department.  The appeals board can meet on a regular basis, with additional meetings around important dates in the funding cycle of the department.

This Recommendation is Endorsed By:

  • Advocacy, Inc.
  • Association of Rural Communities in Texas
  • Center on Disability and Development – Texas A&M University
  • Easter Seals Central Texas
  • Habitat Texas
  • Motivation Education & Training, Inc.
  • Texas Association of Community Development Corporations
  • Texas Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies
  • Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities
  • Texas Center for Disability Studies-UT
  • Texas Low Income Housing Information Service