Summit Combined Housing Authority looks to hire new executive director
December 19, 2016
The Summit Combined Housing Authority has settled on a governing framework moving forward, and now just needs its next executive director.
The countywide housing agency's board of directors met for the third time in five weeks on Monday morning to again discuss the future of the organization responsible for finding locals long-term living quarters. In essence, the structure of the award-winning entity will stay the same as in the past, and may even eventually expand the types of services it provides, but defining and shoring up its current operations remained the focus of the multi-jurisdictional board.
"The goal here, and what we discussed last week, is there's no decision-making by the housing authority," acting executive director Nicole Bleriot told the board. "We are a service to the community, we are a service to the jurisdictions. We want to provide a much more robust resource center as well."
The posture and reassertion of the board's governance comes following the quarrelsome exit of executive director Jennifer Kermode in October. Some on the policy board have voiced critique that the longtime former head of the agency had begun steering the ship without proper approvals, setting it on an unintended course that will now receive more day-to-day supervision and scaled-back sovereignty starting in 2017.
“We are a service to the community, we are a service to the jurisdictions. We want to provide a much more robust resource center as well.”Nicole BleriotActing executive director of the Summit Combined Housing Authority
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Early board conversations about the framework of the five-municipality housing authority — made up of the county as well as towns of Breckenridge, Dillon, Frisco and Silverthorne — introduced the idea of basically disbanding the entity in all but name. Those faded by the beginning of December, instead emphasizing maintaining present structure including an existing advisory group, but shifting all internal support services under the umbrella of the county government and solidifying what exactly the housing authority should be doing, for both its partner municipalities, in addition to walk-in customers looking for housing in the community.
"We want this to be a resource — the go-to place when people have questions about housing in Summit County," Rick Holman, Breckenridge's town manager, said during the meeting. "It should be a one-stop show for all those things."
All voting members agreed to the organization's three primary duties of providing housing assistance and down-payment education programming, for-sale services including deed-restriction reviews and real estate calculations, and for-rent resources in the refashioned design. The question of potential expansion into housing creation and development — and with it increase in staff — was one of the few items that saw much debate Monday.
"We do things by a different model," said Frisco Councilwoman Kim Cancelosi of her town's philosophy on constructing housing. "I don't know, maybe we're rogue. I don't ever see us having the housing authority being in charge of any development."
Voting members settled to pursue a plan of first reestablishing present-day services over as long as the next year before potentially launching extended development functions. The possibility of hiring an assistant director to manage the business and staff while the agency lead turns more attention toward overseeing the board's desires for prospective construction as a project representative on behalf of the jurisdictions was an associated proposal. That will be tabled until at least a new executive director is hired.
"As the business grows or follows the will of the board," said Bleriot, "then this becomes an option to consider. We get there by starting with … getting the house in order as it currently exists."
For now, the biggest effort will go toward locating the next executive director with a varied background, ranging from abilities to institute automated efficiencies in the housing agency, understand board-director dynamics and public-private partnerships, and the capability for managing large housing development projects. The intent is to have a job posted no later than Jan. 16 of next year and to go from there as candidates surface. The emphasis then and now, regardless of the organization's ultimate direction, is designed for furthering collaboration.
"I think we should hire somebody with that skill set," Holman said of housing development experience. "That may not happen immediately, but that would be our goal by a year from now. As more and more of us are doing this, coordination is going to be critical — and learning from each other and what works here and there."