Heading a beleaguered agency whose every move from the past few years is being investigated by state and federal officials has broad appeal, as more than 100 people have applied of the executive director’s position at the Lafayette Housing Authority.
The candidates, who had until Wednesday to apply for the job, which was paying Walter Guillory $186,000 a year (with a $5,000 business allowance and other benefits) when he resigned Oct. 25 amid state and federal investigations of the agency, will now have their applications reviewed by U.S. Housing and Urban Development officials. It’s unclear what the new ED’s compensation package will be — the LHA is among the largest in the state. The LHA's board of commissioners will ultimately make the decision on which candidate lands the job. The five-member board, however, currently consists of only two members, Donald Fuselier and Shirley Vige; three others were removed for a second time this year by City-Parish President Joey Durel and are again appealing their dismissal.
“We have not even considered what the salary and benefits package will be,” Dan Rodriguez, the HUD monitor who has been overseeing the LHA for several weeks, writes in an email. “But I assume it will be comparable to the public housing arena.”
Rodriguez says preliminary evaluations of the applications start next week. “We are also planning on having of committee to conduct the interview[s] and [make] final recommendations to the board to interview and decide on,” he says. “I don’t anticipate that HUD willl play a role on the final recommendations and decision."
The majority of applicants have little or no housing authority experience. In posting the job opening, the LHA's board stated that it is seeking “a skilled administrator with proven leadership ability who is committed to public service, organizational integrity, and innovative solutions. Top candidates will have excellent interpersonal and communication skills combined with a hands-on approach to managing the Authority.” The job description, which requests six professional references, also noted:
The Board of Commissioners have a high regard for ethical leadership and will place significant value on a candidate’s career history, personal and professional integrity combined with a strong commitment to public service.
The HACL has 572 Public Housing Authority units, approximately 1600 Housing Choice Vouchers under Section 8 and one Tax Credit development.
Requires a bachelor’s degree; master’s degree or other advanced degree is preferred and a minimum of five (5) years of progressively responsible work experience in a public housing authority, a non-profit housing corporation, non-profit organization, or in a related area that would include a successful track record of working with an active board, staff, residents, and government and/or community services organization.
Excellent salary with a competitive benefits package including a defined retirement plan through The Principal Financial Group (with 3% agency contribution) and participation in social security.
The Independent Weekly has posted the applications on its website. View them here.