A special meeting of the newly created Omaha Municipal Land Bank turned out to be rather uneventful, officially, at least.
The Land Bank board was expected to part ways with its first executive director, Brittany Jefferson, according to City Council President Ben Gray. The board voted unanimously five months ago to hire Jefferson after a national search.
Instead, the board had 5 minutes of public comment Wednesday, went into executive session to discuss Jefferson’s performance and quickly adjourned.
The meeting was held on the seventh floor of the City-County Building, which is a different location for the board’s meetings. Several supporters of Jefferson said they had trouble finding the room.
“They didn’t put a sign on the door or anything,” said Spencer Danner, the city’s human rights and relations director.
The board called Jefferson to come into its executive session for a few minutes, then sent her back in the hallway with a handful of her supporters. Asked what she was asked about, she said, “I can’t say.”
Gray said he was concerned about the way the board was being run.
“She didn’t fail this board, this board failed her,” he said.
Land Bank board chairwoman Jamie Berglund declined to comment earlier in the week and did not immediately return a call Wednesday evening.
Jefferson previously served as the redevelopment administrator in the Little Rock (Arkansas) Department of Housing and Neighborhood Programs.
The Land Bank is funded by the City of Omaha and philanthropists. The organization has authority to buy or accept donations of tax-delinquent, run-down, abandoned houses, as well as vacant lots and other problem properties, then sell them for redevelopment.
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