Another CHA Chief Bows Out

by Mary C. Piemonte 

CHA CEO Charles Woodyard listening to residents’ comments at a CHA Tenant Services meeting on August 8, 2012. Photo by Mary C. Piemonte.

For the second time in two years, a Chicago Housing Authority chief announced his resignation even as the agency’s multi-billion dollar plan to redevelop its family and senior public housing remains incomplete.

In June 2011, a month after Mayor Rahm Emanuel was inaugurated into office, Lewis Jordan resigned from his 4-year tenure as CHA chief while city officials investigated his and others’ alleged misuse of CHA credit cards to purchase dinners at expensive restaurants and pay for red light tickets, among other items. 

Now Charles Woodyard, former CEO of the Charlotte Housing Authority in North Carolina, who was appointed CHA chief by Emanuel in September 2011 to replace Jordan, is calling it quits as relocated residents continue to wait to return to replacement housing in mixed-income communities.

Woodyard’s Letter to CHA Board Commissioners

In a letter to the CHA Board Commissioners obtained by RJ, Woodyard stated that “It was with mixed emotions” that he was resigning effective November 1, 2013.

In a melancholy overture, he added that “It has been an honor serving the citizens of Chicago over the last 25 months.”

Woodyard added in the letter that he had been “in public service for over thirty years,” and now wants to move on to something different.

“And while I have treasured this service, it has long been my desire to take my talents to another direction. Therefore, I am pursuing other opportunities that I hope will benefit my family and my career.”

Woodyard went on to say that he wanted to spend more time with his young son, “who will soon begin his college career.”

“I would like to spend more time guiding him and providing him with the resources he needs to meet his own goals.”

 

Statement from CHA Board Chair

In a statement this morning on behalf of the CHA Board of Commissioners, Chairman Zaldwaynaka Scott said that Woodyard “has dutifully guided CHA through the implementation of the agency’s new strategic initiative – Plan Forward – and was instrumental in creating many of its primary components to help build strong, vibrant communities throughout Chicago.”

Plan Forward was the new name given to the CHA’s ongoing redevelopment effort, which began in 2000 under Mayor Richard M. Daley under the name ‘Plan for Transformation.’

Scott continued that Woodyard “also worked closely with a host of key stakeholders to coordinate public and private investments to ensure that CHA’s portfolio is safe, decent and sustainable. The Board of Commissioners wishes Charles the best in his future endeavors as he dedicates more time with his family and pursues other career opportunities.”

 

Public Housing Update

FY2013 marks the 14th year since the beginning of the Plan for Transformation, when residents were first uprooted and relocated from family public housing sites. The former residents from the now-demolished buildings continue their long wait to return to promised replacement units as CHA stalls in fulfilling their goals.

CHA has 21,216 remaining public housing units but only 18,236 units are currently occupied, according to the agency web site. A total of 2,980 public housing units are off line for reasons that range from “pending demolition or disposition, capital maintenance or modification, non-dwelling use, relocation resources, and non-rehabilitated/uninhabitable units closed for pending redevelopment.” CHA is required to provide the federal government with quarterly updates on the status of off-line units.

Separate from the leased and un-leased units in its portfolio, the agency has pledged to build 25,000 replacement units under the two Plans. CHA claims that it will have delivered an additional 525 housing units by the end of this fiscal year for a total of 21,956 units, 88 percent completion of the goal.

Mayor’s Emanuel’s Press Office did not respond to requests for comment on Woodyard’s resignation and who his replacement would be by the time of this report.

You can read more about former CHA CEO Lewis Jordan’s resignation here: http://wethepeoplemedia.org/uncategorized/cha-chief-steps-down-after-credit-card-fiasco/#sthash.SCBbGLKB.dpuf.

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