New commissioner joins New Bern Housing Authority

New Bern Housing Authority Office
New Bern Housing Authority Office

Mayor Jeffrey Odham appointed James Copland IV to the New Bern Housing Authority Board of Commissioners after Zeb Hough resigned two months ago.

New Bern Now joined the NBHA Zoom meeting on Jan. 16 and heard a new commissioner’s voice. When asked, the city clerk told NBN that James Copland IV was appointed to the board by the mayor on Nov. 16, 2023.

Hough’s picture and bio were removed from the housing authority’s website, but there’s no mention of or contact information for Commissioner Copland or Reggie Barner, the interim executive director.

The NBHA board has a policy to make video recordings available to the public as part of the meeting minutes.

On Jan. 17, NBN asked for copies of video recordings and meeting minutes from October, November and January. NBN received copies of the minutes and recordings were uploaded to the NBHA YouTube channel the next day. There is no video of the October meeting. The December meeting was cancelled.

In June, Commissioner Hough was hired by the city as a consultant for the New Bern Redevelopment Commission until an executive director was identified.

Hough resigned from the board on Nov. 1. In an email to Chairman Ronald Scott, Barner and Odham he wrote, “I have accepted a position with the City of New Bern as the Executive Director of the Redevelopment Commission. As I know the RDC and NBHA will be able to partner with each other well, it would be a conflict of interest for me to remain on the board as a commissioner.”

Other housing authority news:

In August, Laurel Street withdrew as the Co-Development Partner for the Trent Court project. Shortly after, Tifffany Askew resigned as the NBHA executive director.

On Sept. 18, Commissioner Sabrina Bengel made a motion to authorize the board chair to negotiate a contract with Reggie Barner as the interim executive director with a salary of $12,000 a month and terminate any development relationships. The meeting minutes reflect the board unanimously approved.

Reggie Barner was the developer consultant for the New Bern Housing Authority as the CEO of The Barner Group.

By Wendy Card. Send an email with questions or comments.