City avoids hiring consultant

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By David Giuliani

The Las Vegas City Council recently rejected hiring a consultant to help form a residents council for public housing. So the city found a free way to get the job done.

The authority has entered an agreement with Highlands University master’s student Gloria Tafoya to start the residents council and work on other projects for the housing authority.

In June, the housing authority proposed that the city enter into a contract with Highlands University professor James Alarid for up to $5,700 to form the residents council, which amounted to $25 per resident.

But the council voted 3-2 against the proposal, with council members Tonita Gurule-Giron and David Romero and resident representative Ember Davis in the majority. Gurule-Giron argued that the city could handle the duty of creating the council in-house, saying the city needed to save taxpayers’ dollars.

Robert Pacheco, the housing authority’s director, said Tafoya could help with improving living conditions and the capital improvements plan, among other projects.

“It would be nice if we could give her some recognition or a stipend as a token of our appreciation,” Mayor Alfonso Ortiz said.

Tafoya, who is working on her master’s degree in social work, said she entered the agreement knowing she would be offering her services for free.

Gurule-Giron said she liked the idea of entering a contract with a student.

“The university is where it’s at,” she said.

Pacheco said previously that it was important that an independent person handle forming the residents council, saying he had only been with the authority for a year and a half and that it took time to build up trust with the tenants.

The council unanimously approved the agreement with Tafoya.