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Actions and Abuses of The Current HUD Manufactured Housing Program Administrator That Warrant Her Reassignment and Replacement

MHARRThe current HUD manufactured housing program administrator, Pamela Danner – “parachuted” into that position on a career basis in violation of section 620(a)(1)(C) of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 -- has engaged in multiple actions and abuses over the course of her nearly four-year tenure that have needlessly, baselessly, and unnecessarily harmed the industry, and particularly its smaller businesses, as well as the mostly lower and moderate-income American families who rely on manufactured housing as a prime source of affordable, non-subsidized housing and home-ownership, thereby warranting her reassignment and replacement.  While this list is extensive, it is not exhaustive.  Accordingly, among other things, the Administrator:

 

(1) Is seeking to implement a federal takeover of installation regulation in all fifty states, in derogation of state law and contrary to the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000;

(2) Is seeking to implement extremely costly substantive changes to the existing federal installation standards for “frost-free” shallow foundations through an alleged “Interpretive Bulletin” that will unnecessarily increase the cost of manufactured housing and needlessly harm the industry’s post-production sector (rejecting multiple MHCC recommendations in the process, without explanation as required by section 604(b)(3)(B) of the 2000 reform law) – which only benefits industry competitors and program contractors;

(3) Is destroying the HUD Code on-site completion market through an unnecessarily complex, paperwork-intensive, intricate and costly “on-site completion” rule, in the process rejecting requests by a broad range of program stakeholders and the MHCC to delay and reconsider implementation of the final rule and related pseudo-regulatory HUD “guidance” – which only benefits industry competitors and program contractors;

(4) Is setting the groundwork to drive State Administrative Agencies (SAAs) out of the program through a combination of increased responsibilities and requirements together with unchanged funding levels (as contrasted with increased funding for the program monitoring contractor), thereby increasing the role, power and authority of unaccountable pseudo-regulatory program contractors;

(5) Has dramatically increased and expanded the role, power, authority and funding of the unaccountable 40-year de facto sole-source program monitoring contractor, via “make-work” functions that needlessly hike regulatory compliance costs for the industry and consumers;

(6) Is increasing and expanding the role, power, authority and funding of unaccountable program contractors via “make-work” functions that needlessly hike regulatory compliance costs for the industry and consumers;

(7) Has continued the program’s baseless, extra-regulatory expansion of in-plant regulation – which only benefits program contractors;

(8) Has needlessly expanded regulatory burdens and compliance costs under Subpart I, which --  among other baseless regulatory and pseudo-regulatory mandates -- includes, “at least monthly” Primary Inspection Agency (PIA) reviews of manufacturer service records with no showing of necessity – which only benefits program contractors;

 (9) Is seeking to generate higher levels of federal dispute resolution referrals (which amounted to only .019% of all manufactured home placements in federally-administered states between 2008 and 2014), while denying that current minimal referral levels reflect positively on the quality of manufactured homes or manufacturers’ customer service – which only benefits industry competitors and program contractors;

(10) Has needlessly increased (and maintained) the program certification label fee by a factor of 156%;

(11) Has failed – for over two years -- to take action to implement an MHCC recommendation to permit multi-family HUD Code manufactured housing, thereby denying the industry an entirely new market in which to compete with site-built and other types of housing;

(12) Has further impaired the ability of the industry to compete with other segments of the housing industry and has needlessly raised regulatory compliance costs to the detriment of consumers by requiring “Alternate Construction” (AC) approval for homes designed to be used with attached after-market garages and/or carports;

(13) Has failed and refused to use the power and authority provided to HUD under both the enhanced federal preemption of the 2000 reform law and HUD’s Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) regulation to prevent or limit the discriminatory exclusion of HUD Code homes and communities by local jurisdictions, thereby helping to deprive millions of Americans the benefits of affordable, non-subsidized home ownership provided by manufactured housing – which only benefits industry competitors;

(14) Failed to take appropriate and necessary action – under a grant of express statutory authority -- to prevent the promulgation of an outrageous, excessive, baseless and destructive proposed manufactured housing energy “conservation” rule by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE);

(15) Failed to object to a transparently lawless, contrived and scandalous “negotiated rulemaking” process at DOE to develop that proposed rule;

(16) Has failed to intercede with a HUD agency – the Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA) -- to modify, liberalize or ameliorate its harshly and unnecessarily-restrictive “10-10” rule for Title I (chattel loan) manufactured housing program loan originators, which has restricted that program to just two approved originators, while Title I originations, once a significant source of manufactured home consumer financing, have dwindled to and continue to languish at negligible levels;

(17) Has failed to “facilitate the availability” and “acceptance” of manufactured housing – as mandated by law – by (among other things) failing to seek and advance non-discriminatory treatment of manufactured home consumer chattel loans by the two Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs) and the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) consistent with, and, as required by, the “Duty to Serve Underserved Markets” (DTS) provision of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA);

(18) Has denied collective industry representation on the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) while allowing the collective representation of other interest groups, thereby discriminating against the industry contrary to law, and depriving it of the benefit of the collective knowledge, know-how and institutional memory that it has developed in Washington, D.C.;

(19) Has skewed, manipulated and abused appointments to the MHCC to: (a) limit representation of smaller industry businesses; (b) appoint and/or continue the membership of single-issue special interest representatives; and (c) exclude known and/or likely critics of HUD policies;

(20) Has appointed to the MHCC, individuals not “qualified by background and experience to participate in [its] work,” specifically including one or more “special interest” appointees;

(21) Has continued, expanded and intensified the discredited and unlawful practice of bypassing the MHCC on changes to policies, practices and changes in interpretation affecting the standards, their enforcement and “monitoring” procedures in violation of section 604(b)(6) of the 2000 reform law;

(22) Has failed to hold or schedule an MHCC meeting to date in 2017;

(23) Has failed to address or rectify recommendations of a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the implementation of the 2000 reform law, calling for greater and more effective oversight of the HUD monitoring contract which, according to GAO, raised “serious questions;”

(24) Failed to object to – or address at all – a federal dispute resolution subcontract awarded by HUD’s dispute resolution contractor, Savan Group, L.L.C., to the incumbent program monitoring contractor, the “Institute for Building Technology and Safety” (IBTS) in violation of the 2000 reform law.  (The subcontract was only terminated after congressional intervention sought by MHARR); 

(25) Failed to object to – or address at all – a contract awarded to the incumbent monitoring contractor, IBTS,  by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for in-plant inspections of HUD Code FEMA homes that threatened to funnel alleged non-compliances in non-public-market FEMA homes into the HUD Subpart I system and could also compromise HUD Code manufacturers’ proprietary information;

(26) Has failed to exercise express authority provided by law to terminate the current HUD monitoring contract and conduct a new solicitation for that contract that would: (a) ensure full and fair competition, which has not occurred over the 40-year history of the program; (b) eliminate unnecessary and baseless “make-work” functions; and (c) eliminate the unlawful performance of “governmental” functions by the contractor.

 

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In addition to the foregoing, the Administrator has either violated or failed to fully and properly implement multiple program reforms mandated by the 2000 reform law, including but not limited to:

(A) Failing to “facilitate the availability of affordable manufactured homes and to increase homeownership for all Americans;”

(B) Failing to “ensure that the public interest in, and need for, affordable housing is duly considered in all determinations relating to the federal standards and their enforcement;”

(C) Failing to limit the “monitoring” function in accordance with its statutory definition, i.e., “the periodic review of the primary inspection agencies, by the Secretary or by a state agency … for the purpose of ensuring that the primary inspection agencies are discharging their duties under this title;”

(D) Failing to “ensure that all directly and materially affected interests have the opportunity for fair and equitable participation” in the MHCC;

(E) Failing to bring to the MHCC for review and consensus recommendations “any statement of policies, practices, or procedures relating to construction and safety standards, regulations, inspections, monitoring or other enforcement activities that … implement, interpret, or prescribe law or policy…;”

(F) Failing to “consider the probable effect of any [any] standard on the cost of … manufactured home[s] to the public;”

(G) Failing to “facilitate[e] the acceptance of the quality, durability, safety and affordability of manufactured housing within … [HUD]; and

(H) Failing to provide the MHCC with “a written explanation of the reasons for the rejection” of recommendations concerning standards, regulations and/or proposed Interpretive Bulletins.

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