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Housing Authority executive director fired

Russellville Housing Authority executive director Bernitta Johnson was fired at a Tuesday meeting of the Housing Authority Board of Directors.

By a 4-1  margin, board members voted to terminate Johnson effective immediately. Housing Authority employee Deborah Freeman was named acting executive director by the board.

Although no specific grounds for termination were named in the motion to terminate Johnson, board members said Johnson had "a different direction and vision" for the Housing Authority than the board.

The board was to send Johnson written confirmation of her termination by certified mail. According to a source familiar with the Housing Authority, Johnson had already cleaned out her desk, turned in her keys and taken her personal effects from the office prior to Tuesday's board meeting.

Board members asked  Housing Authority attorney Sharon Hester to research whether the executive director position  must be posted if they wanted to promote an existing Housing Authority to the position permanently.

The board also unanimously approved a motion to have an independent audit of all Russellville Housing Authority funds done as soon as possible. The audit will be performed by Henderson and DeJohn, LLC, of Birmingham.

Johnson, who served as executive director almost two years, has 240 hours of vacation time she will be compensated for, according to the board. Hester said the board had 30 days to pay her for the accrued vacation time.

The next meeting of the Russellville Housing Authority Board is set for Tuesday, November 14, at 12 p.m. The board will meet for a work session at 11 a.m., to discuss proposed changes to the Housing Authority by-laws.

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