Gloversville Housing Authority board hires new director

Jason Mazur. (Jason Subik/The Daily Gazette)

Jason Mazur. (Jason Subik/The Daily Gazette)

GLOVERSVILLE – The Gloversville Housing Authority Board of Directors on Thursday voted to hire Jason Mazur to a four-year contract to serve as the authority’s sixth executive director since 2017.

Mazur, a Johnstown resident, said his most recent job had been working as warehouse supervisor at the Dollar General distribution plant in the town of Florida in charge of shipping operations. He said over the last 15 years he’s worked in managerial positions for three different businesses, all related to distribution.

“This position is obviously going to be new — it’s a change of career field for me,” he said. “It’s a challenge. It seems like a role I can embrace. I’m good with people. I understand financials.”

Mazur is married to City Clerk Jenni Mazur, who attended Thursday’s meeting with their children. He said he’s a graduate of Husson University in Bangor, Maine, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 2006, moved to Fulton County 10 years ago, and lived in Gloversville for the past five years before moving to Johnstown. He said he’s aware of the recent turnover of executive directors at the GHA, but he’s not focused on it.

“Honestly, I don’t look at the past, I look at the present and the future,” he said. “Obviously I’m going to do everything I can to do the best job I possibly can do. I take pride in what I do. I can’t speak to what happened prior to myself.”

Mazur is replacing former GHA Executive Director Amanda Ossenfort, who left her position in April after less than six months on the job. In November of 2020, Ossenfort had signed a four-year deal almost identical to the one signed by Mazur on Thursday, which includes an $80,000 annual salary.

Ossenfort’s brief tenure as executive director came after the GHA had been led by Damaris Carbone for the prior 10 months. Ossenfort served on the GHA board prior to that and could not be appointed executive director until she had complied with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development rules mandating a one-year gap between service on the governing board of a housing authority and then serving as its top employee.

Neither Ossenfort nor GHA board members have been willing to comment on why she left the position or whether she quit or was terminated. GHA board President Brenda Leitt has confirmed there is no litigation going on between the authority and Ossenfort.

Prior to Ossenfort and Carbone, Heather Reynolds served as GHA executive director from February 2018 to November of 2019, before leaving for another job. Reynolds had been widely credited with improving operations at the authority after the tumultuous tenure of former GHA Director Timothy Mattice, whose time leading the organization 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.

Mattice was placed on paid administrative leave in July 2017, before ultimately signing a settlement agreement in September of that year. Mattice was replaced on an interim basis by retired GHA executive director Daniel Towne until Reynolds was hired.

Mazur said he thinks the rapid turnover of the GHA executives will end with his appointment. He said he can foresee himself staying at the GHA for 10 or more years. He said he believes his first job as executive director will be filling some staff positions at the authority.

“There seems to be a shortage of staff here at the authority,” he said. “There will be some positions to fill.”

Leitt said it will be  Mazur’s job to get “the office in order” and hire two and possibly three additional staff members.

GHA board member Marcia Weiss said another issue that needs to be resolved at the authority is making certain the maintenance crews pick up any loose garbage around the dumpsters at the front of the GHA’s 85-apartment-unit Dubois Garden.

Kim Larabee, the owner of an adjacent property to Dubois Garden, complained to the board at its most recent meeting about garbage blowing from the dumpsters onto his property and asked that the dumpsters be moved to the rear of the apartment complex.

“We’re going to talk about moving the dumpster to the back, but the reason the dumpster from the back was moved to the front was that tenants complained about the noise it was creating,” she said. “I’ve written to the [GHA] superintendent and told him that the first job every morning needs to be cleaning at all of the properties, all of the garbage around the dumpsters.”

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