Other Matters: Project Management

Audit encourages the board of the Southfield Redevelopment Authority to ensure the project is properly staffed to manage day-to-day activities.

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As previously noted, on August 20, 2014 the Governor signed into law Chapter 291 of the Acts of 2014. This legislation resulted in significant changes in the makeup of the Southfield Redevelopment Authority’s (SRA’s) board of directors. After Chapter 291 was enacted, the reconstituted board eliminated the positions of chief executive officer (CEO), chief financial officer, and water/sewer superintendent. During most of our audit period, SRA’s staff consisted of a finance director/treasurer, a land use administrator, an assistant planner, an administrative assistant, and a part-time accountant. As a result of the staff reductions, SRA’s board had to take a more active role in the day-to-day management of the project. 

The significant reduction in staff, along with the board’s inability to hire a replacement CEO, could have a negative effect on the existing staff’s ability to ensure the proper administration of the project, as evidenced by the findings detailed in this report, and to respond promptly to the requirements of the housing community being developed at Union Point; the master developer; and the Towns of Abington, Rockland, and Weymouth. In fact, representatives of the master developer told us that they had had problems scheduling meetings with potential investors.

Further, the board’s increased participation in SRA’s day-to-day operations reduces the amount of time the board can spend addressing policy issues. Although the board is responsible for overseeing the management of the agency and related policy matters, it is SRA’s management personnel who are responsible for managing the day-to-day activities of the project. Therefore, SRA’s board should ensure that the project is properly staffed with personnel who can fully manage those activities and fully meet the needs of the master developer.

To that end, the board has been actively seeking since August 2014 to hire a CEO to oversee SRA’s operations. In its response to our report, SRA stated,

The Authority hired effective February 5, 2018 Paul Niedzwiecki, a former Executive Director of the Cape Cod Commission, as its Executive Director. Mr. Niedzwiecki has the breadth of real estate development experience to effectively run the Authority on a day-to-day basis which will allow the Board of Directors greater time for policy level decision making.

Date published: March 29, 2018

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