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CRHA to establish committee to lead executive director search

The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority plans to establish a committee to lead the search for its next executive director.

CRHA’s board of commissioners held a work session on Thursday to discuss several items, including the vacancy at its top post.

Former Executive Director Grant Duffield, who was hired in May 2016, left Nov. 22 to take a job in Newport News.

CRHA is operating with a three-person management team of Interim Director of Operations Kathleen Glenn-Matthews, Housing Director Claudette Green and former Mayor Dave Norris, who is CRHA’s redevelopment coordinator. During Thursday’s meeting, the board approved resolutions granting power for the trio to sign certain documents through April.

During the work session, commissioners backed the idea of forming a committee to craft a job description and lead the search. The committee could include members of the board, the Public Housing Association of Residents and city officials.

“We’re all going to have to sit at the table and work together and figure out what it is that we need,” said Commissioner Aubrey Oliver.

The committee’s composition will be on the agenda at the next board meeting on Jan. 27.

Duffield was CRHA’s seventh executive director since 1998, with each lasting an average of three to four years in the role.

Commissioner Mike Osteen advocated for a “small select committee” to ensure that the job search is quick. Duffield filled his position in 2016 about six months after his predecessor resigned.

Glenn-Matthews and Commissioner Betsy Roettger led discussion around the need to hire a dedicated finance director, which they said should happen before an executive director is chosen. CRHA does not have a full-time staff member dedicated to financial matters.

“As we think about hiring a new executive director, we’ve been finding that maybe there’s other people we need first,” Roettger said.

Glenn-Matthews said that establishing that position would help with several of the issues identified in a recent audit of the authority by the Office of Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The report alleges that the authority violated internal, state and federal procurement regulations on $728,516 of products and services. HUD couldn’t determine if the services examined were obtained at a “fair and reasonable price” because CRHA couldn’t provide documents to prove it.

CRHA officials have worked with HUD to provide the documentation since the report was released in August. They have noted that staff shortages may have allowed certain documents to fall through the cracks, and having someone dedicated to collecting such information could improve shortfalls.

In other business, the board approved its annual plan following a public hearing.

The federally mandated plan focuses on general initiatives for the coming year. It highlights CRHA’s commitment to mixing residents of varying income levels throughout its properties, modernization of properties and developing employment and business programs.


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