HUD Halts City Lead Treatment Program
Barrett requested review; temporary stop work order cites possible lead hazards.
The federal government has issued a “stop work order” for the city’s troubled lead abatement program. The move comes after a site visit last week by federal officials.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which provides grants to fund the city’s lead abatement program, sent the letter after it identified issues with the city’s program and its execution.
“Areas of concern were noted including issues with lead hazard control scopes of work in which owners are completing work that may be noncompliant and unsafe,” HUD’s letter reported.
A statement from the Health Dept. said: “HUD’s analysis affirmed the findings related to our HUD-funded activities, and we have agreed that a temporary pause will provide us with welcome support in improving the program.”
HUD issued warning letters and a stop order to the city in 2017 related to falling behind on spending according to recent testimony from Barrett and representatives of the Health Department before the Common Council. Those letters were the trigger that caused the Mayor’s office to dig into the Health Dept, culminating in the January 11th resignation of commissioner Bevan K. Baker. The department was previously able to get back into compliance.
Barrett has yet to confirm interim commissioner Patricia McManus who was appointed by the Common Council last week. McManus found herself shrouded in controversy by the end of the week following her statement on a radio show saying “the science is still out” on vaccines in response to a question whether immunizations might cause autism.
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