The already diminished role and authority of the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) as an independent check and balance on the power of HUD regulators took another major step backward on January 3, 2011 as HUD, for the first time, has selected the Chairman of the Committee. Until now, the MHCC had elected its own Chairman and Vice Chairman from among its voting members and had forwarded that vote to Secretary of HUD for final action.
The incoming HUD-selected Chairman, an original MHCC member appointed by HUD in 2002 and now serving a ninth year on the Committee, is the only one of seven term-limited MHCC members to be re-appointed for a new term by HUD, without any further explanation.
For your information and convenience, and based upon MHARR’s records, the departing MHCC members are: Susan Brenton (General Interest) (Chairman); William Lagano (General Interest) (Vice Chairman); Doug Gorman (Producer); Jack Berger (User); Karl Braun (User) (resigned) and William Farrish (Producer). MHARR would like to acknowledge the service of these former MHCC members and publicly thank them for their many years of fair, open-minded and thorough consideration of the critical issues brought before the Committee, as well as the right and concerns of all federal program stakeholders.
The new appointees announced by HUD on January 3, 2011, are: (1) William Freeborne, described by HUD only as a “retired engineer,” who will be joining the “General Interest and Public Officials” group, becoming the second former HUD staffer or consultant to be named to the MHCC in recent years; (2) Adam Rust (General Interest and Public Officials), of the “Community Reinvestment Corporation of North Carolina;” (3) Isabel Dickens (User) of the Manufactured Home Owners Association of America, another collective representation group; (4) Steve Anderson (User) described only as a “manufactured home owner” from Utah; (5) Jeffrey Legault (Producer) of Skyline Corporation; and (6) Leo Poggione (Producer) of Craftsman Homes. The one reappointed MHCC member and new Chairman, Richard Weinert, is an official of the California State Administrative Agency (SAA).
In addition to tightening its grip on the MHCC, HUD’s latest appointments to the MHCC continue to exclude collective industry representatives, even though non-industry collective organizations continue to be well represented within other MHCC interest groups. Effectively, the acquiescence of the industry establishment, the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) — which has repeatedly expressed that it does not object to being excluded as a voting MHCC member — has provided HUD with an excuse to refuse the appointment of non-lobbyist collective industry representatives who do want to serve. This ensures that the MHCC does not get the full benefit of the collective knowledge, know-how, expertise and institutional memory that the industry has painstakingly gathered in Washington, D.C. over the course of four decades.
With HUD’s intent regarding the role, status and authority of the MHCC continuing to unfold — i.e., to turn it into another meaningless forum like the defunct National Manufactured Housing Advisory Council of the 1974 law — MHARR now will redouble and intensify its efforts to make this a key issue for engagement with the new congress about to take office in Washington, D.C. In the meantime, MHARR will continue its efforts as a non-member of the MHCC to fight even harder to preserve the proper role, status and authority of the MHCC in accordance with the 2000 law.
cc: Other Interested HUD Code Manufacturers, Retailers and Communities
Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform
1331 Pennsylvania Ave N.W., Suite 508
Washington, D.C. 20004