Champaign County Housing Authority still seeking director

Champaign County Housing Authority still seeking director

CHAMPAIGN — Almost five months after Ed Bland left for Virginia, the Housing Authority of Champaign County remains without a full-time executive director.

And with another round of interviews still to go, a hire doesn't appear imminent.

Cindi Herrera, who was named the agency's interim executive director after Bland's departure for a similar job in Portsmouth, Va., said preliminary interviews that started in late July are slated to wrap up at the end of this month.

When that round is over, the pool will be whittled down to a short list, Herrera said, with the finalists interviewed a second time.

There is no deadline for naming a replacement for Bland, the executive director for 13-plus years, Herrera said. The application period remains open to ensure the agency can "get the best candidate (we) can," she added.

Up until now, six preliminary interviews have been scheduled, Herrera said. Two of the candidates are Illinoisans, but none are from Champaign County, and no resumes were received from within the county, she said.

The preliminary interviews are being conducted by a committee of three — the authority's vice chairman, Jim Rose; board member Henry Grant; and Eric Hanson, an attorney with Mahoney, Silverman & Cross. The full Housing Authority board will handle the final round of interviews, which will take place behind closed doors.

The housing authority is funded by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, which doesn't require public input for executive director searches, said Gina Rodriguez, a public affairs officer with HUD's Midwest office.

In Illinois, housing authority boards are required to select and appoint their executive directors, according to the state Housing Authorities Act. Directors report to their boards.

Shortly after Bland's June 6 announcement, Herrera said the position was posted a number of places, including the job boards of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, Public Housing Authority Directors Association, Institute of Real Estate Management and Affordable Housing Management Association.

The Housing Authority board's next meeting is scheduled for Thursday.

Bland, a Vienna, Md., native, cited a desire to be closer to family in announcing his departure.

The housing authority expanded greatly under Bland's leadership, with the most recent additions including senior housing in Mahomet; a new 99-unit Skelton Place in Champaign, set to begin construction next year; and two recently completed projects: Providence at Thornberry and Providence at Sycamore Hill.

He also oversaw the redevelopment of the former Burch Village and Lakeside Terrace family housing developments into mixed-income complexes.