PHA makes interim director permanent

Here's the press release:

Michael Kelly accepts position as permanent Executive Director

He will also continue serving as Administrative Receiver for HUD

(PHILADELPHIA, August 4, 2011)— The man tapped by the federal government to stabilize operations at the Philadelphia Housing Authority over a period of 6-12 months will be staying longer than planned.

Michael P. Kelly has accepted an offer to become permanent executive director at PHA. His new role will be made official at a special meeting of the PHA Board of Commissioners at 3:30 this afternoon. He begins his new responsibilities on August 8.

Mr. Kelly has been on loan to Philadelphia from the New York City Housing Authority, where he has served as general manager since 2009. Through a special arrangement, NYCHA agreed to allow him to serve as Interim Executive Director at PHA while still handling some of his duties in New York.

In March, when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development took control of PHA, the federal agency appointed Kelly to serve as Administrative Receiver. In that role, he is overseeing PHA’s recovery with the goal of returning the agency back to local control in 2012.

“Mr. Kelly came to PHA at a very difficult time. He immediately focused on creating an atmosphere of mutual respect, getting back to basics in property management and resident services and making PHA accountable and transparent in business practices,” said PHA Board of Commissioners chair and HUD COO Estelle Richman. “We are quite pleased Mr. Kelly has accepted our offer.”

Mr. Kelly, serving simultaneously as Administrative Receiver and Executive Director, will be paid $225,000, more than $100,000 a year less than his predecessor’s compensation.

Mayor Michael Nutter, who had first contacted New York officials including NYCHA chairman John Rhea and Mayor Michael Bloomberg about lending Mr. Kelly to Philadelphia, called Chairman Rhea yet again, this time to ask for permission to keep Kelly. Again, Mr. Rhea was completely cooperative and supportive in agreeing to Philadelphia’s need.

“Mike Kelly has quickly converted PHA into an organization that works well with others to provide the best possible service to citizens in need of homes they can afford. We are gratified to have played a role in making sure he stays here to finish the job he started,” Mayor Nutter said.

Some of Mr. Kelly’s key accomplishments since joining PHA include:

•Provided leadership during challenging period to maintain organization focus and the delivery of uninterrupted service

•Spearheaded the development of PHA’s Transition Plan emphasizing the creation of a culture of respect, adopting a “back to basics” approach to property management and resident services, and mandated accountability and transparency in conducting PHA’s business

•Instituted zero tolerance policy for any violation of PHA’s Ethics; harassment, intimidation and discrimination policies and other employment policies intended to eliminate and prevent such practices in the workplace.

•Reestablished the Office of General Counsel to ensure greater accountability and transparency with respect to legal affairs of the Authority and efficient management of legal cost

•Re-organized and re-named the Office of Inspector General as the Office of Audit & Compliance to ensure regulatory and operating compliance of all PHA’s business transactions

•Established comprehensive ethics policies and procedures applicable to every PHA employee that conform to all applicable federal, state and local statutes and regulations

•Initiated comprehensive assessment and review of PHA’s financial and budget status, construction and development departments, and PHA affiliates

•Executed renegotiated collective bargaining agreements between PHA and Building and Construction Trades Council of Philadelphia and Vicinity, AFSCME DC33, AFSCME DC47 and SEIU Local 32BJ

Mr. Kelly served more than nine years as executive director of the Washington DC Housing Authority before moving to New York in 2009. He has also served as head of the housing authorities in San Francisco and New Orleans.

“As I have said since shortly after my arrival last December, PHA is a fundamentally sound organization with well-trained employees. We have worked to assess and then address problem areas and are well on the way to regaining our reputation as a great housing authority,” said Mr. Kelly. “The beneficiaries of PHA’s recovery will be the residents who count on us and the communities in which they live.”

The Philadelphia Housing Authority is the nation’s 4th largest housing authority, serving more than 80,000 rental residents. PHA is also a major real estate developer. See more at