Guttenberg Housing Authority official, who makes $115k, placed on paid leave


The Guttenberg Housing Authority’s facility service director has been placed on paid administrative leave in the midst of an investigation over the roughly $109,000 payout received by the agency’s former executive director. Guttenberg Housing Authority

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Be it resolved, that the Board of Commissioners of the Housing Authority of the town of Guttenberg hereby places Ms. [Fatima] Becerril’s (sic} on paid administrative leave pending further action of the Board of Commissioners,” reads a copy of the resolution passed at the July 21 special meeting of the GHA.

Hudson County View had to file an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request on July 22 in order to get a copy of the resolution, which was not answered until July 29.

The request also revealed that Becerril currently earns an annual salary of $114,778 with the authority.

Another related resolution approved at the meeting “hereby decrees that that the job position of Property Manager for the Guttenberg Housing Authority is not a supervisory position and does not have supervisory authority over Housing Authority staff.”

Becerril’s paid suspension comes in the midst of the authority investigating the approximately $109,000 payout of former GHA Executive Director Barbara Criscione, as HCV exclusively reported in June.

Criscione retired at the end of 2015 and was replaced by Interim Executive Director Zinnerford Smith.

Multiple members of the authority declined to comment on the implications of the two aforementioned resolutions approved by the board.

However, according to sources, who spoke under the condition of anonymity since they were not authorized to speak on the matter, Becerril was suspended for allegedly signing off on Criscone’s check – which never received board approval.

The same sources each independently confirmed that the investigation into Criscone’s payout, which included unused sick and vacation time, is now being handled by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of the Inspector General.

The OIG is “committed to our statutory mission of detecting and preventing fraud, waste, and abuse and promoting the effectiveness and efficiency of government operations,” according to their website.

Previously asked to comment on the situation, the OIG said they do not confirm or deny ongoing investigations, while Criscione and Becerril could not be reached for comment.

A copy of our fulfilled OPRA request, which includes the two resolutions mentioned above, can be read here.

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  1. How does any rational person justify paying out $109,000 in “sick” and “vacation” time to a public employee where her supervisor, who now has no supervisory responsibility, in paid a handsome $114,000 yearly plus benefits in a town that’s two blocks long? Do they need a Board of Commissioners for the Housing Authority AND an Executive Director pulling down $114,000 plus benefits. This is precisely why Thomas Jefferson was an enemy of strong, centralized, one size fits all, bloated, leviathan government in the hands of corrupt politicians where one party rules (Democrat) in the Country of Hudson County. Where the dead vote early and often. I’m so glad I got out…

  2. Someone should look into how the housing authority was run under Barbara and Fatima.
    Maybe some of the residents have lost their fear of speaking up now that Barbara is no longer there..The corruption and underhandedness goes deeper than just an unauthorized check.

  3. Wow!!!!!!
    Is everybody at the GHA asleep at the wheel? It took them so long to realize that Ms. Fatima had
    “no supervisory authority”!!!!! How many more decisions did she make illegally? Is anybody going to look into that? Is her pension protected after all those illegal decisions.
    Anyway, this is Hudson County where the motto is ” personal gain is the name of the game”…