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DuBois-Walton Gets 5% Raise
by Allan Appel | Aug 21, 2013 10:05 am
The housing authority’s Board of Commissioners voted to raise its executive director’s salary to $172,276 three years into a five-year contract.
The unanimous vote took place at the board’s regular meting Tuesday afternoon at the Housing Authority of New Haven (HANH) headquarters at 360 Orange St.
Authority Executive Director Karen DuBois-Walton (at right in photo, at a recent press conference on addressing childhood trauma) was originally given a two-year contract in 2008 when she took over the job from Jimmy Miller, currently the deputy director for special projects. Her contract was renewed in 2010 for five more years, with the salary negotiable in each of the third, fourth, and fifth years.
Tuesday’s vote was the result of that negotiation.
Jimmy Miller (pictured) currently serves as the authority’s deputy director for special projects. The board Tuesday night voted to raise his salary, too, from $162,579 to $170,708. (That figure includes money for which Ansonia’s and Bridgeport’s housing authorities reimburse HANH for time Miller has been spending as an interim director.)
In evaluating Miller DuBois-Walton cited the success of Brookside redevelopment project, where construction has been completed; the near completion of 122 Wilmot Avenue elderly and commercial complex, and the emerging reconfiguration of Farnam Townhouses
When Miller’s raise was voted on, commissioner Matthew Short said, “Jimmy’s presence is very important. His work is impressive.”
DuBois-Walton’s raise, the only other position whose salary requires HANH board approval, was discussed in executive session and then announced afterwards at the reconvened public meeting.
Board Chair Erik Clemons called her work “phenomenal.” Yul Watley, who grew up in the Elm Haven projects and later launched among the first resident-owned businesses, said of DuBois-Walton: “She’s the most resident-friendly director” in his experience.
“I love this work,” DuBois-Walton said.
Before the meeting, DuBois-Walton exchanged a brief Q & A with the The Independent. Here are highlights.
Over the past year what are you proudest of achieving?
DuBois-Walton: I am most proud when we accomplish things that directly improve the lives of our residents. These have included implementing the site based offices, rebuilding Brookside,122 Wilmot Rd., and the new Residences at Rowe, and launching our youth initiative. Through the youth initiative I have been pleased to see my vision of Youth Leadership Councils launched and greatly expanded youth employment and after-school activities.
I love opportunities I create to get out of the office and directly interact with residents.Over the past year you may have seen me at community cook-outs, read-aloud days, doing ZUMBA with residents or doing non-partisan voter registration. I look forward to being in our communities talking with residents and hearing the “good” and the “bad.”
Where do you see the areas that are still most challenging?
The economy presents a challenge for our residents who are actively engaged in our Family Self-Sufficiency program building their job readiness and job skills. After working so hard, it is frustrating to see work-ready residents unable to find employment at the level for which they have been trained.
Secondly, federal cuts make it difficult to meet the need for affordable housing. Our wait-list includes thousands of families, many of whom have waited years for housing. We simply do not have enough vouchers or units to meet the needs. It is heartbreaking to receive the calls and inquiries of families in desperate need for affordable housing and to not be able to house them.
Finally, our attempts to build community with our neighbors in Hamden remain a challenge well worth the effort invested.
What’s on the top of your list to accomplish during your next tour of duty?
Investing in our youth is the surest way to break the cycle of poverty. I am excited to continue to partner with the New Haven Public Schools to improve school readiness, school achievement, and college readiness for our children.
I want to see completion of our major redevelopemnt activities that crate homes and communities that work: Rockview, Ribicoff Cottages, and Farnam developments.
I hope to be an effective advocate to ensure the continuation of the Moving to Work program including getting our contract re-authorized beyond 2018.
Do you see the upcoming change of [New Haven’s mayoral] administration having an effect on HANH’s portfolio or way of doing business?
I expect a lot of change simply because the current administration has worked with HANH for the past 20 years. There’s a familiarity there that allows us to “cut to the chase” quite quickly. Any new administration will need to learn what and how we do things. I hope to see a continued level of commitment to developing the kinds of communities that we know work for residents.
Any anecdote that you recall that speaks to you about what the work is about at heart?
Just recently I had the pleasure of sitting with two residents who told a pretty hostile crowd about the importance of affordable housing. One spoke of abandoning her dreams for being a registered nurse when she lost her eyesight. This was followed by the breakup of her marriage. She spoke passionately about how public housing had saved her life and that she didn’t know where she would be without it.
A second mother spoke of how illness led to the loss of her job as an RN and the break up of her marriage. She reminded the crowd that you never know what twists and turns may occur in your life that will lead you to public housing an dhow thankful she is for it.
These and many other stories are why we do what we do!
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She now makes about what a United States Senator does.
Also the Hamden fence thing still infuriates me.
How do you vote youself a raise.And people say this is not the city of Detroit.It will be if they keep doing this.
No, no, no, a thousand times no.
Walton and Miller are just two reasons this city is going broke.
Maybe they are nice people or maybe not—doesn’t matter.
This is fiscal madness, except for those DeStefano-ites who personally profit off his power politics.
It is essential New Haven elects someone who does business different than the last 20 years
“The housing authority’s Board of Commissioners voted to raise its executive director’s salary to $172,276 three years into a five-year contract”.
The board Tuesday night voted to raise Jimmie Miller’s salary, too, from $162,579 to $170,708.”
I think that this action by the board of commissioners is an outrage and an insult to taxpayers across the country.
You would think Walton was the CEO and Miller the Chairman, of a major profit making corporation. No so.. the Housing authority is a non-profit tax exempt entity funded by the Federal Dept of Housing & Urban Development and also currently being subsidized by the city of New Haven taxpayers @8M, and who are paying twice for this salary increase in the middle of a five year contract.
Major Corporation Board of Directors would not likely approved a salary increase in the middle of a contract, when there is 2/12 more years of performance to evaluate.
I don’t know how Walton and Miller could have the gull and utter audacity to accept such an increase, in the face of their tenants, who qualify for housing based on 30% of their income. The average rent is Appox $170 x 70% would make an average salary of $11,900/yr.
Astounding and outrageous.
Wow. With its two top leaders each paid in excess of $170,000 annually, with a board appointed apparently solely by the mayor and an annual budget nearing $100 million (according to the annual plan posted on their website - tell me someone if I’m reading this wrong), the New Haven Housing Authority must be a major housing provider, employer and purchaser of goods and services.
Given New Haven’s financial situation, smartly leveraging opportunities like this is key to our continued growth.
Are we maximizing the value to New Haven of this operation? Is there potential for more?
Would be interesting to hear what the mayoral candidates have to say about their vision for the role of the Housing Authority.
This city needs a salary cap.
Regardless of how good of a job these administrators are doing, considering that a typical tenant income is around $10,000 per year, a salary of more than $150,000 is absolutely outrageous, revolting, and morally offensive to humanity.
The $40,000 difference should be used to provide annual summer jobs for a dozen youth who live in these developments and who face unemployment rates of around 90%.
Sure, other places may be worse in terms of inequality, but city government is something that the public has control of - theoretically.
posted by: Jonathan Hopkins on August 21, 2013 1:17pm
Could someone clarify where exactly the money for these salaries comes from?
The Housing Authority is primarily funded through the Federal Government, and maybe some State funds, no? From the best I can tell, the city’s contribution to running the Housing Authority was about $285,000 for this fiscal year. Where does that money go? Is this where the salaries for the staff of the housing authority is drawn from?
$170,000 seems excessive to me, and if the money is from the city’s general fund, then a raise seems extremely inappropriate at this time.
@Jonathan Hopkins - you can find some information on the Housing Authority’s Annual Reports page at: http://www.elmcitycommunities.com/AnnualReport.aspx
No government employee deserves a 5% raise or a salary in this range, including Jimmy Miller. This is what cronyism gives taxpayers - and allegiance to the DTC machine.
Am moved to say that I, too, find this a distasteful decision. I’m trying really, really hard to be polite. I mean, really hard. It’s not easy.
When you get above a certain level, what’s another $10,000/year. What is she going to do, buy something new. Oh Boy!
Meanwhile, you could give that money to a young urban studies student to intern for the Summer. Such a difference to give a new person an opportunity and learning experience, rather than reward someone who is already wealthy. Its insulting to most of us in New Haven.
I am not shocked. But what does shock me is the 5%! What 5%! Really?
This is outrageous. We should cut her salary to $1 and expect her to do her job three times as well, too!
In fact let’s just get volunteers to run the Housing Authority since it’s not a profit-making corporation. That’ll make New Haven more equal.
Does anyone know how long one without a disability can live in subsidized public housing? Is there a time limit so others in need get the opportunity instead of staying on a wait list with only a limited number of units available?
Remember how Mayor Destefino took issue with a hybrid or elected Board of Education, insisting that “accountability” was important? Sen. Harp has also spoken against an elected school bard on account of “accountability.” This is a fully appointed board. Whose campaign is Ms. DuBois-Walton supporting? I think I see where this is going.
So, I typed up a comment yesterday that did not have swear words, ignorant remarks or gratuitous personal attacks against HANH’S E.D., yet it was not posted. In any case, apparently, there was no mention of HUD’s rule with respect to the capping of Executive salaries based on the size of the housing authority. Mrs. DuBose Walton and Mr. Miller are both over that cap. Is there any clarification as to how the housing authority is funding these salaries while the Section 8 program is running in the red?