GLOVERSVILLE – The Gloversville Housing Authority met Monday night and went into executive session for more than an hour and half to discuss the appointment of a new executive director, but then emerged from the closed door meeting without having hired anyone.
After the meeting, GHA Board President Brenda Liett said the board hopes to resolve the vacancy soon. “We want the director replaced as soon as possible, but I can’t give you any other information,” she said.
Former GHA Director Amanda Ossenfort left the authority in April, a little more than six months after inking a four-year deal to oversee the authority’s three low-income and senior housing apartment complexes.
Ossenfort, a former GHA board member, was the fifth executive director to serve the authority since former GHA Director Timothy Mattice agreed to a settlementin September 2017. Mattice’s tumultuous tenure at the authority included a $10 million lawsuit, a federal investigation, unionization of the authority’s employees and a well-publicized case of chronic bed bugs in some of the GHA’s apartments.
After Mattice, retired GHA executive director Daniel Towne was rehired on an interim basis until the authority hired Heather Reynolds in February 2018. Reynolds was widely credited with improving operations at the authority, but left the position in November of 2019. She was replaced by interim director Damaris Carbone in January of 2020.
The GHA board then hired Ossenfort in November 2020, about one year after she had left her service as a GHA board member, complying with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development rules requiring a one-year gap between service on the governing board of a housing authority and then serving as its top employee. The GHA had sought a waiver for Ossenfort from HUD in order to hire Ossenfort earlier than that, but did not receive the waiver.
Neither Ossenfort nor GHA Board members have revealed the reason her premature departure from her four-year contract.
Contacted via social media Monday evening, Ossenfort would not say whether she resigned or was terminated from the position.
“I’m unable to make any comments. Sorry,” Ossenfort wrote.
Liett on Monday night said there is no litigation pending between Ossenfort and the GHA.
Ossenfort had been scheduled to receive an $80,000 salary.
During the executive session the GHA board met with an unidentified man and the GHA’s labor attorney Bryan Goldberger, as well as GHA and Gloversville city Attorney Anthony “Tony” Casale.
During the regular board meeting a man named Kim Larabee, who said he owns property adjacent to the GHA’s 85-apartment-unit Dubois Garden Apartment Complex, where the GHA board meeting was held, complained that garbage has been blowing onto his property from where the GHA has positioned its dumpsters near the front of the complex.
“I just want to know if you can do something about it,” he said. “I called a couple of weeks ago and talked to a lady, and she said they had something in the works and they were trying to figure out something, but I don’t know who it was.”
GHA Board member Marcia Weiss, who also serves as 1st Ward councilwoman for the city Common Council, said she thinks the dumpsters should be moved from its current location.
“My opinion is, and I’m just one person, but my opinion is it should have never been moved to the front,” she said. “It should be in the back. I’ve never heard of garbage being put in the front.”
“Exactly! Because it doesn’t even look good for the buildings,” Larabee said.
“I know that,” Weiss said. “But we’re not in a position right at this moment to be able to move that, but I agree 100 percent.”
Liett said she believes the garbage problem will be dealt with when the board is able to hire a new executive director. “Once that happens, then this will be addressed,” she said.