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story.lead_photo.caption Helen Wilbers/FULTON SUNChris Garrett, executive director of the Fulton Housing Authority, was put on paid administrative leave Tuesday while the FHA board conducts an internal investigation.

The Fulton Housing Authority executive director was put on paid administrative leave Tuesday while the FHA board conducts an internal investigation, according to minutes from a closed meeting.

Chris Garrett, who was hired as the FHA director in October, was the subject of an executive session in which members planned to discuss complaints about evictions, said FHA board chairman Tim Wilkerson. "We're going over some information from some residents — we've heard some concerns," Wilkerson said, declining to offer specifics.

Exactly what board members talked about during the closed session is unknown; closed meetings are exempt from Missouri's Sunshine Law. Public bodies are, however, required to post a notice 24 hours in advance of a closed meeting listing the specific provision within Section 610.021, RSMo., that allows the meeting to be closed.

FHA board lawyer Jacque Brazas said the meeting was closed under provisions related to legal actions, causes of action or litigation involving a public governmental body and any confidential or privileged communications between a public governmental body or its representatives and its attorneys, and the hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting of particular employees by a public governmental body when personal information about the employee is discussed or recorded.

The votes taken Tuesday do fall under public record. Commission member Julia Boyd Uhls made the motion to put Garrett on leave. The vote was unanimous.

"The Housing Authority is committed to ensuring that the rights of both tenants and Housing Authority management and staff are upheld, all in furtherance of its mission to promote adequate and affordable housing, economic opportunity and a suitable living environment, free from discrimination," FHA board chair Tim Wilkerson said in a statement forwarded through a lawyer Friday morning.

Prior to his hire as FHA director, Garrett worked at Don Woodson State Farm Insurance and as a supermarket manager. He had no prior experience in public housing.

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