Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

April 30, 2013

Catlettsburg Housing Authority gets interim director

Young back at helm of agency he ran for 13 years

Carrie Stambaugh
The Independent

CATLETTSBURG — Ashland Housing Authority Executive Director Rick Young has been named interim director of the Catlettsburg Housing Authority.

Young, who previously helmed the agency for 13 years, will fill in for the next three to six months until new leadership is hired. The Gate City agency’s board of directors last week voted to fire Director Mica Williamson and Deputy Director Tara Daniels.

The CHA manages the Grandview Manor and Forest Heights public housing complexes, which have approximately 150 units. Williamson was named director of the agency in May 2011, having previously worked as the resident director of the AHA’s Debord Terrace. Daniels was named deputy director in July 2011.

Officials remained tight-lipped Tuesday about their decision to terminate Williamson and Daniels. Board chairman Roger Hensley said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development officials in Louisville are continuing to look into financial issues at the agency.

Young, who has been AHA director for five years, is well acquainted with filling in at troubled housing authorities. He has been tapped by HUD twice before to serve as an interim director, first at the Lawrence County Housing Authority and later the AHA. When he became director at the Catlettsburg agency 18 years ago, it was in financial straits with less than $42,000 in the bank.

In a way, Young said, Ashland is returning a favor to Catlettsburg allowing him to serve as interim director. Young was the interim director at Ashland while he was director at Catlettsburg. He left the CHA when he was named Ashland’s new director.

While Young is filling in at Catlettsburg, the CHA will pay a fee to HUD, part of which will go to Young and part to be paid to the AHA.

Young stressed Tuesday that Catlettsburg is not considered “financially troubled” by HUD, a technical term when used by HUD. However, he said Catlettsburg has financial concerns that must be addressed.

First on Young’s agenda is completion of the 2013 audit for the year ending March 31. Young said the audit would be done “as quickly as possible,” and auditors would be called in “to find out more things in details about this year that just ended and what shape they are in fiscally.”

The 2012 audit has been cited as a reason Williamson and Daniels were let go.

Michael Browder, HUD’s Louisville Field Office Public Housing director, declined to give details about the situation surrounding the departure of top officials in Catlettsburg. However, when asked about “unauthorized charges” allegedly made at the CHA under Williamson’s leadership, Browder said: “It is not that they are not HUD authorized. They are considered ineligible for the use of federal funds.” 

He also confirmed the 2012 audit was responsible for alerting HUD officials to the ineligible charges. “It was the outcome of an audit that was performed like any other audit,” Browder said. He declined to comment further until the agency’s public information officer was available.

Young said he would also be focusing on renting 12 of the 30 vacant apartments at Grandview Manor. Sixteen of those apartments will be used by current residents while a mold issue stemming from plumbing pipes is resolved. Two additional apartments are not inhabitable until mold is abated in them.

CARRIE STAMBAUGH can be reached at (606) 326-2653 or cstambaugh@dailyindependent.com.