HRA to look into full-time director

Published 10:59 am Friday, January 20, 2012

The Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Austin is considering hiring a full-time executive director.

The HRA board met Thursday afternoon to discuss possibilities of such a position; however, a decision is going to require much more work.

HRA Board Chair Marvin Repinski said he talked to the Austin City Council about it four months ago, as the current HRA executive director, Jim Hurm, holds many positions.

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Hurm is also Austin’s city administrator and director of the Port Authority. Hurm has acted as part-time HRA executive director for the past eight years, and Monday the HRA Board met to discuss the next step.

Yet board members and staff are not yet sure if they need a full-time executive director. While they mentioned the HRA has been doing well, they said it is a matter of how the HRA wants to move forward.

According to Hurm, the HRA is very “maintenance based” as of now. However, a new Housing Improvement Program, a partnership between HRA and Riverland Community College to remodel run-down houses, may be a something the HRA wants to expand in the future. Furthermore, HRA Board and staff mentioned they already have a full workload. A full-time executive director could ease that.

Board members decided to set aside time after next month’s meeting for an open discussion. As of now, the city doesn’t budget for a full-time HRA director, and board members want to see what other city HRAs are paying their directors.

Hurm and the board members also want to gauge the perspective of HRA employees. The board may talk with some employees or send out surveys to see how well employees feel they are being served and if HRA itself can do more for the community.