For Immediate Release - March 22, 2012


BOSTON – Thursday, March 22, 2012 – Furthering the effort to increase transparency and accountability in the Commonwealth’s public housing system, the Patrick-Murray Administration’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) today announced key findings and recommendations following their review of local housing authority (LHA) contracts and salaries. The proposed action steps call for implementing a required standard contract, disallowing unreasonable terms and requiring LHAs to report total executive director compensation in their annual budgets.


“I look forward to implementing the action steps proposed in the report to increase transparency in public housing and further protect taxpayer dollars,” said Department of Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Aaron Gornstein. “Public housing is an invaluable resource to many Massachusetts residents and the Patrick-Murray Administration is committed to maintaining our housing stock while ensuring the system is run with integrity.”


In November 2011, Governor Deval Patrick called for the review of all LHA executive director salaries and contracts following reports that the Chelsea Housing Authority Executive Director and Board had intentionally misrepresented the executive director’s salary to DHCD. DHCD requested that all LHAs submit information on their budgets, executive director salaries, year-end financial certifications and any existing executive director contract.


After analyzing the submissions, DHCD compiled a report outlining their salary analysis and contract review. The report includes median, minimum and maximum salaries by housing authority size, results of a salary and contract comparison and findings from a comprehensive contract clause review. The required standard contract would define total compensation, incorporate clauses encouraging a beneficial employment relationship and disallow unreasonable terms and automatic term renewals.



Governor Patrick called for a series of reforms with the release of the FY2013 budget proposal, DHCD has begun to implement some of the reforms administratively, including requiring LHAs to report the top five management salaries, setting maximum compensation for executive directors and limiting executive directors with dual contracts to the hour and salary equivalent of one full-time position.


LHAs are independent entities and each is governed by a five-member board that is responsible for oversight. The boards consist of one gubernatorial appointee and four locally elected or appointed members.


Governor Patrick also signed an Executive Order forming a Commission on Housing Authority Governance Reform. The 60-day Commission, to be chaired by Undersecretary Gornstein, will meet for the first time on April 11th to begin discussing the public housing management and governance structure and determine possible regional efficiencies. The Commission includes the following members:


  • Susan Bonner, Tenant Commissioner, Nahant Housing Authority
  • Jack Cooper, Massachusetts Union of Public Housing Tenants
  • Senator Sal DiDomenico
  • Colleen Doherty, Executive Director, Taunton Housing Authority
  • Doreen Donovan, Corcoran Jennison Management
  • Rebecca Deusser, Executive Office of Administration and Finance
  • Annette Duke, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute
  • Senator James Eldridge
  • Barbara Fields, Regional Administrator, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Lizbeth Heyer, Associate Director, Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Representative Russell Holmes
  • Representative Kevin Honan
  • Diana Kelly, Maloney Properties
  • Tim Mahoney, Laborer’s Council
  • Steve Merritt, Executive Director, Norwood Housing Authority
  • Representative George Ross
  • James Stockard, Harvard University, Graduate School of Design
  • Senator Bruce Tarr
  • Mayor Thatcher Kezer, Town of Amesbury
  • Jeffrey Sacks, Commissioner, Newton Housing Authority
  • Carl Valente, Town of Lexington
  • Clark Ziegler, Massachusetts Housing Partnership