HUDSON—The Hudson Housing Authority (HHA) is looking for a new executive director and a new attorney, and it consequently has delayed on-going projects and its usual September resolutions. But it does have a new commissioner on its board.
During online conference meetings September 8 and 17, the board said good-by to the previous executive director and designated his intended replacement only to find out it needed to keep searching.
The HHA runs the 135-unit income-restricted Bliss residences and supplies vouchers for housing elsewhere in Hudson.
On September 8, the board accepted the resignation of Executive Director Tim Mattice, effective September 10. Mr. Mattice became executive director in 2017 and steered the transition from a Public Housing status to a RAD (Rental Assistance Demonstration) entity. This summer he announced his intention to resign. He now will work full time for the Catskill Housing Authority, where he has consulted part time in the past years, according to Revonda Smith, chair of the HHA’s Board of Commissioners.
“Tim, I’m going to miss you,” said Ms. Smith.
“I’m going to miss you, Revonda,” said Mr. Mattice. “You’ve been fun to work with. I think you guys will all be awesome.”
One of Mr. Mattice’s last acts as executive director was to draft a request for proposal (RFP) for a new attorney for HHA.
During his last HHA Board meeting, Mr. Mattice reported that the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) had just notified him that the most recent annual independent audit of the HHA had “found no problem.”
He also reported that the HHA had complained again to the Pest Tech exterminator company, and Pest Tech came promptly and revised its plan for Bliss. In addition, he said, “We’ve been interviewing other exterminators. The center of the solution is education. We have been struggling with a handful of residents who won’t let us into their apartments.”
At that meeting the board announced it has a new member, Anthony Bennett, as tenant commissioner, replacing Edrick Brown. Mr. Bennett was not present. The board has seven members.
The September Board meeting is also when the board usually elects its officers and approves the operating budget for the year ahead. This year, however, the board voted September 8 to table these resolutions until the October meeting, for the benefit of the new executive Director or acting executive director.
The HHA has also put some of its other endeavors on pause, pending the new administration. These include applying to take out loans from the private sector—the most recent likely lender is M&T Bank—and moving forward with a construction project to redevelop HHA land.
The redevelopment project includes rehousing Bliss tenants, demolishing Bliss Tower, and building new housing on the site. The first step is issuing a RFQ (Request for Qualifications) to find developers qualified to design and participate in the development. But right now, “HUD wants the RFQ to be on hold,” Ms. Smith reported.
On September 8, the HHA had reason to expect to resume its projects soon. The board appointed the executive director of the Troy Housing Authority, Deborah Witkowski, to serve as acting executive Director of the HHA, effective September 13, for as long as the HHA needed her. Under this plan Ms. Witkowski was supposed to serve both housing authorities simultaneously, working some days in Hudson and some days in Troy.
‘You’ve been fun to work with. I think you guys will all be awesome.’
Former Ex. Dir. Tim Mattice
Hudson Housing Authority
Ms. Witkowski could not join the September 8 virtual conference because of Troy obligations. But Ms. Smith said she had had several phone conversations with her and had found her “impressive” and “excited to be able to help Hudson.” The HHA was hoping that Ms. Witkowski would work up to 20 hours a week and longer hours during the first month, with a contract between the two housing authorities guiding how she divided her time between them.
But within a week, the Troy Housing Authority said, “No.”
So now, Ms. Smith said September 17, “We are without an executive director.” However, that evening, Ms. Smith said she knew of four people who were interested in considering the position.
There still are hurdles. “We need an attorney to approve even an interim executive director,” Board member Marie Balle said.
Ms. Smith reported that board Member Claire Cousin had sent out the RFP for a new attorney to many law firms. As of that evening, one firm had expressed interest in bidding.
“We have so many different things going on,” Ms. Smith said.
Other board members thanked her for all the work she is doing.
Meanwhile, the Bliss community room is closed again, and meetings have to take place by video conference.