Ben Carson was forced to reveal his work schedule and confirmed he hasn’t been working very hard at his job. That may explain part of the reason why folks living in public housing have suffered under his leadership of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Some of the takeaways from Carson’s daily 2017 schedule showed he seldom worked a full day on Fridays and held few meetings with senior staff members, according to a new reported.
NBC News reviewed three different 2017 calendars from Carson’s office that it obtained from the government watchdog group American Oversight, which filed a federal lawsuit to get the information. NBC’s findings were based on Carson’s schedule from April 7, 2017 to Nov. 1, 2017.
While the heads of three other federal agencies (Departments of Transportation, Treasury and Labor) held daily or multiple senior staff meetings each week, Carson’s senior HUD team gathered just once a week. Carson, however, found time to meet with the author of “Chicken Soup for the Soul” and the founder of My Pillow.
During the 31-week period, Carson gave himself five Fridays off. On five other Fridays, the secretary left work before 2 p.m. to catch a flight to South Florida, where he has a $4.3 million mansion. For six other Fridays, his workday ended by 3 p.m. When he did work a full day at the end of the week, it was never more than a traditional 8-hour day.
Carson released the following statement in his defense: “Almost every day the Secretary arrives at HUD by 7:30 a.m. to read over briefing material and prepare for meetings and travel. In 2017, the Secretary traveled to over 27 communities and met with more than 40 elected officials in their communities to discuss HUD business. In 2018, his travel and meetings increased and he visited more than 45 communities and met with over 60 elected officials in their communities.”
While Carson has been taking it easy at HUD, conditions at public housing facilities have declined. A 2018 report found that public housing’s safety and health under Carson have gotten worse.
Carson has appeared to make it his mission to be one of the worst HUD secretaries in American history. In case you forgot, here are just some of his failures: He was accused of demoting an employee for not approving extravagant office renovations, including a $31,000 dining room set. There are accusations his family was too involved at HUD, emails proving he has lied and even reports of Carson using taxpayer money for private planes. In addition, there were Obama-era policies that would help people out of poverty, which he claimed Americans are “too comfortable.”
NBC News previously reported that a dozen current and former HUD officials had confirmed a lack of urgency at the agency under Carson.