Lafayette Housing Authority Executive Director Walter Guillory’s claim of a HUD requirement that one of the case managers it hired for the Disaster Housing Assistance Program hold a doctorate, as reported by The Daily Advertiser today, is quite surprising. Neither he nor Deputy Director Jonathan Carmouche mentioned the requirement over the past couple of weeks in their ongoing attempts to justify paying Chris Williams $37 an hour as a case manager for the controversial program. And it was nowhere in the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s requirements for case managers, which were reviewed for this week’s cover story, “Self-Serving.”

As it turns out, there was no such HUD or DHAP requirement for case managers working on the program, which was abruptly canceled by LHA’s board last Friday.

“HUD does not require that any of the staff have a doctorate,” says Shantae Goodloe, a public affairs rep for HUD in Washington, D.C. “Our guidelines for the program speak to the services provided, the percentage/ratio of staff required to serve the affected public, partnerships which may be beneficial to ensure the program successfully provides the services within the existing [public housing authority] structure and budget constraints, the need to provide equal access to all program participants, etc.” Goodloe says the skills, experience, and education level of the staff is not determined by HUD. “The Contractor who employs the staff may have this specific requirement; however, HUD is not privy to their hiring practices or selection process.”

Guillory told The Daily Advertiser that because Williams held the “required” doctorate, he suggested Carmouche interview him for the job, which started out paying $11 an hour in 2007 but was later increased to $37 an hour. Williams, who has degree in economics from UL Lafayette and a master’s degree in political science from Southern University, earned a doctorate from Union Institute and University, through correspondence courses.

Guillory clarified this morning that the “requirement” was his, not HUD’s. “We were looking for a Ph.D.,” he says. “If I said that [HUD required it], that was certainly a mistake.” Guillory had no explanation for why only one case manager was required to have a Ph.D. (he says another has a master’s degree) when they were all hired to do the same type work and none was in charge of the other.

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