The embattled Jefferson Parish Housing Authority has a new executive director, and the new leader has ties to another parish agency with a questionable financial history.
In a special meeting on Thursday, the authority’s Board of Commissioners hired Pamela Watson as the head of the agency on a one-year contract.
Watson was one of 16 people to apply for the position, which has been vacant since former director Barry Bordelon resigned in the wake of a federal audit that questioned spending practices at the agency. An interim director resigned in October after less than a month on the job.
Watson is the sister of Carol Smith, the former head of Jefferson Community Health Care Center Inc. That agency came under fire from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor in August for possible violations of state and federal laws based on the use of public funds. Watson, a council aide for former Parish Councilman Byron Lee, was mentioned in the audit for having approved invoices for her sister to be paid parish funds through the clinic, although Watson denied that allegation. It would have been illegal for Watson to participate in economic transactions that involved her sister and the parish.