Press Release

Akron Mayor Testifies on Effectiveness of HUD's Management Reforms

September 27, 2000
Eugene Lowe
(202) 293-7330

Jubi Headley
(202) 861-6766

Washington, DC -- Akron Mayor and Conference of Mayors Trustee Donald Plusquellic was on Capitol Hill Tuesday (September 26), testifying before the Senate's Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Development about the effectiveness of 1998 management reforms at the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Download the full text of Mayor Plusquellic's remarks.
" HUD is now in the best shape I have seen it since I first worked with it more than 20 years ago," said the twenty-seven year veteran of public office and Mayor of fourteen years. "HUD has provided us with the means and expertise necessary to undertake a number of creative programs that have resulted in benefits to our city and its neediest citizens. My fellow Mayors agree with me-we, the people who work most closely with the Department, are supportive customers of its services."

As evidence Plusquellic pointed to a series of innovations implemented by HUD officials to make it easier for cities to get the resources and services they need, including:

  • The Community Builders Program, which provides local governments with one-source, one-stop shopping as they navigate federal government procedures and resources;
  • Simplification of HUD's grants application process to make it more customer-friendly;
  • The inauguration of the Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Communities Program, which provides communities with funding to stimulate economic investment and revitalization (Akron received an Enterprise Community designation in 1994, and with it received $3 million in grants to spark economic development); and
  • HUD's HOPE VI program, which provides cities with funding to demolish the worst public housing in their region, thereby making neighborhoods safer and more attractive, as well as readying properties for renewed use.

Plusquellic testified on September 26 before the Banking Committee's subcommittee on Housing and Transportation. "We haven't always gotten our way from HUD, or received every dollar we've sought from the Department," Mayor Plusquellic said, "but I can only praise the newfound willingness of the Department to work with its clients to obtain flexible solutions to the difficult problems of housing and poverty, rather than approach problems with an approach designed to stifle creativity."

Other witnesses at the hearing included HUD and GAO officials, and experts from Washington think tanks such as the Heritage Foundation and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

The United States Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are about 1,100 such cities in the United states today. Each city is represented in the membership of the Conference by its chief elected official, the Mayor.