HRA wants full-time director

When it comes to leading the HRA staff, a part-time position just won’t cut it.

The Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Austin Board of Commissioners decided on a 4-0 vote at a regularly scheduled meeting Thursday afternoon to focus its upcoming search for a new executive strictly on a full-time basis. The fifth commissioner, Roger Boughton, was not present.

“It is my principle push that we need a full-time director,” Repinski said.

Commissioner Joyce Poshusta agreed, saying a part-time hire would not commit to the job in a way that would push the HRA forward on expanding its projects.

“People who are leading the pack and marching forward are going to be full-time, not part-time,” said Karen Mattson, HRA property manager.

Previously, the board planned on a part-time director — with the potential to go full-time later — as a way to keep costs down. The board said a presentation by Assistant City Attorney Craig Byram helped firm their decision.

Byram stressed though HRAs in other cities tend to focus only on housing assistance programs or redevelopment, the board needs to work on both.

Repinski said he would also like to see the new director brought in from outside the city, though other commissioners had varying opinions on that.

Previously, Repinski said he had spoken with City Engineer Jon Erichson, who had been recommended for the position, and had asked if Erichson would be interested. He apologized for bringing Erichson’s name out as a candidate in the meeting, saying it seemed to slate him for the position before anything had been decided.

“There’s a lot of research that we need to do yet,” he said.

In May, the board laid down a road map for how to proceed with the interview and selection process. The board will determine the selection committee for finding candidates and work out an appropriate salary and benefit package in July.

 

Other business

At the board meeting, commissioners also:

—Awarded a bid to have security camera systems installed at Twin Towers and Pickett Place apartment complexes. The move comes in response to non-residents using the laundry rooms to save money and people leaving garbage, including items expensive to dispose of like computer monitors, on HRA property.

—Approved a policy for how to sell a Housing Improvement Program house that is nearly finished with a remodel at 1003 Eighth Ave. NW. Part of the policy includes giving preference to buyers at or below the “very low” income limit. This includes, for example, a family of two making less than $24,000 a year.

—Transferred two parcels of land near Murphy Creek to the city because neither serve any ownership purpose for the HRA.

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