The Harris County Housing Authority gets motivated to act like the top 1 percent

If the previous blog post was not a sufficient indictment of the outrageous spending by the Harris County Housing Authority check out Mike Morris’ Houston Chronicle blog post. He documents the cost of getting the housing authority staff motivated through…

A $5,500 fee for motivation speaker Garrison Wynn to address authority staff at their July 30, 2010, employee appreciation banquet. In all, the authority spent $12,672 on the event, including Wynn’s fee, trophies and plaques and the rental fee at the Hilton-Americas Houston. The next month, the authority spent $1,086 on 60 copies of Wynn’s book, “The Real Truth About Success,” and handed them out to staff. Wynn’s consulting firm, Wynn Solutions, also was paid $74,000 by the authority from 2008 to last year.

The Harris County Housing Authority needs to learn to use Amazon to buy their motivational  materials. Wynn’s hardcover book, The Real Truth about Success: What the Top 1% Do Differently, Why They Won’t Tell You, and How You Can Do It Anyway! goes for $11.91 a copy instead of the $18.10 per copy the housing authority shelled out and at Amazon it even comes with free Super Saver Shipping.

I’m not getting a lot of comfort out of the staff of a public housing authority working to emulate the top 1%. But that’s maybe just my hangup.

According to Amazon the author “Garrison Wynn is a former professional stand-up comedian and the founder of Wynn Solutions, a firm that provides business strategies and influence techniques to audiences around the world.”

The Harris County Public Housing Authority paid Mr. Wynn $85,000 for a lecture, some motivational skills and some marked up books, so you know he is good.

The book description on the Amazon web site reads in part…

Life and business aren’t fair, which is good. If they were, you couldn’t seize the unfair advantage.

Think about it. Is your CEO the smartest person in the company? Is the head of your department more driven than you? Does the leading company in your industry make the best products? Probably not. They all have one thing in common, though: They’re on top of the pile because they discovered and exploited their unfair advantage—and with the help of business expert and motivational dynamo Garrison Wynn, you can do the same. …

All of us have a personal advantage we can use to stack the cards in our own favor. What’s yours? High intelligence? Good looks? Likability? Great connections?

I don’t need to read the book to discover the Harris County Housing Authority’s unfair advantage. It is their remarkable ability to set aside their public trust to provide housing for the poorest citizens of Harris County that allows them to treat themselves like the top 1%.

Be sure to read the Chronicle blog to learn about the $1,200 golf tournament fees for housing authority executives.

Want more? Check out the 2011 story about Harris County Housing Authority executive bonuses, $55,000, $60,000, $85,000. All explained by Housing Authority Chairman Casey Wallace and Commissioner Walter Jones as due to the fact that shrinking HUD funding requires local authorities to team with private developers and compete for funds with nonprofits, other housing authorities and the private sector.


I guess you have to read the book to make sense out of that.

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