Last updated: August 24. 2013 2:49AM - 81 Views

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Issues arising from the assistant director’s exit interview probably led to the board investigation that resulted in the firing of Allen Metropolitan Housing Authority’s former executive director.Daniel Hughes, the former No. 2 at Met Housing, broke a six-month silence Thursday to answer allegations surrounding his own departure from the agency. He said the legal fight brewing between Met’s board of directors and his former boss, Cindi Ring, doesn’t really involve him.Hughes resigned July 30. Ring and former Met Housing maintenance manager Traci Rogers were fired in August. Ring and Rogers both have sued to get their jobs back with back pay and damages. In their lawsuits, both cite growing friction with Hughes and Met Housing board President Lamont Monford.Hughes is not named as a defendant in either lawsuit.Hughes, 37, pastor of The Future Church in Lima, said the decision to leave was his alone. He said a desire to serve full-time in ministry prompted his departure. He said working conditions were less than ideal but more than tolerable to him.“It didn’t make sense for me to make the move, but it did make sense for me,” Hughes said. “I knew what God was calling me to: discipleship, the one-on-one, the intimate relationships, building community. I felt when I came to Met Housing I could do that there.”Hughes said he accepted the assistant director’s job in 2006 with the understanding he would become Ring’s successor, and that he could pursue his passion for community-building and networking there. Ring, a 30-year Met Housing employee, was working under a retire-rehire arrangement. But after three years on the job, Hughes said, he felt dissatisfied with the lack of progress.“It’s not that the agency was mismanaging anything,” Hughes said. “What I thought I was hearing from the board when I came in, versus what we were doing, were two different things. The board wanted leadership, not necessarily just management.”After a first two years of getting to know the agency and learning how to be its representative in the community, Hughes said he sensed a narrowing of his duties and authority within Met Housing. By his fourth year, he said, “I felt not quite clear whether who I was and what I brought to the table was really valuable, what this agency needs or wants.”The apparent rift between the board’s expectations and internal direction surfaced at the board’s January 2010 meeting. Ring was away on an extended leave, according to a copy of the meeting minutes, and after a reading of her director’s report, Monford asked Hughes how business was being handled in her absence.The minutes do not make note of Hughes’ response. The minutes continue: “Monford wanted to be clear that the board wanted Daniel to be in charge and that all staff knew that Assistant Director Hughes was making all decisions for the agency. He also wanted Mr. Hughes to understand that the board was holding him responsible for all agency operations and they had full confidence in his ability to carry out those duties in [Ring’s] absence.”A church-related seminar five months later inspired Hughes to break ties with Met Housing and devote himself full time to ministry. The seminar, which focused on a concept called missional church, offered a template for his own church to pursue a younger, urban congregation he was trying to reach.Hughes said missional church also offered a way for him to accomplish what he thought he could build at Met Housing: discipleship, one-on-one relationship networking and community building.He submitted a letter of resignation July 6 and offered to stay through July. The board interviewed him on July 30, a Friday.Ring was suspended on Monday Aug 2.Hughes said issues arising from the exit interview probably led to a board investigation and Ring’s suspension.“There were certain things I think they agreed on, there were certain things between the board and the director, certain things that were supposed to happen, and so they’re asking questions and I just answered them,” he said.Contacted at home Thursday evening, Monford said he couldn’t comment because of the pending lawsuit against the board.Hughes denied allegations in Rogers’ and Ring’s lawsuits connecting their firings to an investigation by the Ohio Ethics Commission involving Hughes. The investigation found no violations of law, Monford said in earlier reports.Hughes said the allegation — that he accepted free work from a third-party vendor — amounted to an offer of an Internet converter box that his church ultimately couldn’t use anyway.You can comment on this story at www.limaohio.com.

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