Michele Byrd Fired By City Of Oakland Over News Interview On Rental Evictions
In a story broke at Zennie62 on Twitter, The City of Oakland fired Housing and Community Development Director Michelle Byrd over an interview she gave to a news organization regarding the Oakland Rent Board and claims that she was not enforcing the city’s laws against illegal evictions.
The news came from an irate City of Oakland staff member who said that “no one in the City saw this coming. The news organization targeted her, even though it wasn’t her fault. They (the City Administration and the Mayor of Oakland) made her take the fall (for their jobs).”
The City Of Oakland Staffer I talked to didn’t know why Byrd agreed to talk to the news organization “We all wondered why someone didn’t talk to her about what to say.”
Indeed, in the City of Oakland’s “Strong Mayor” system, the Mayor hires the City Administrator, who then is to make sure the Mayor’s initiatives are carried out. If anything, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf should have been out there front and center in this story. But, in this case, it looks like she allowed Byrd to “take the hit” for her.
It’s something, the Byrd firing, that has put the City of Oakland’s Housing and Community Development, and Economic Development, departments in a whirlwind of reformation that is to see a new leader come in who was with the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Not The Oakland Housing Authority
Also, it was not the Oakland Housing Authority (OHA) that was the focus of this report, as others wrongly reported, but the City of Oakland Department of Housing and Community Development. The OHA is ran by its executive director, Eric Johnson.
Also, the City of Oakland Staffer said that the person tabbed to replace her is white; Michelle Byrd is black.
Problem Goes Back To 2006, Before Byrd
The problem of the City of Oakland not enforcing illegal eviction laws goes back to 2006, and long before Michelle Byrd came to be Director, or for that matter Deputy Director. For the news organization to target Byrd was shameful – for the Mayor of Oakland or the City Adminsitrator to not back her was even worse.
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