By Ron Leir
Some three and a half years after Michael Rodgers was fired as the chief administrator of the Harrison Housing Authority, the HHA finally has picked a new leader.
The HHA Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Jan. 8 to hire Roy E. Rogers, of Sicklerville, in Camden County, as executive director and he started work Jan. 15, taking over for interim Executive Director Zinnerford Smith, who has served since December 2010.
Rogers, who is a state-certified public housing manager and is certified to manage tax credit developments, will be receiving an annual salary of $100,000 with no contract and no specified time period.
In its most recent posting for the job, the HHA had advertised a pay range of $80,000 to $100,000 to be negotiated and one HHA spokesman said that the commissioners placed Rogers at the top of that range in recognition of some three decades of experience in the public housing industry.
Rogers spent the last 10 years as executive director of the Gloucester Township Housing Authority where he oversaw 224 housing units and, according to his resume, “obtained credit financing from state and federal sources and constructed a 75-unit senior building.”
Between 1997 and 2007, Rogers was executive director/ president of the Keansburg Housing Authority/ Church St. Corp., where he “started up a 35-unit tax credit building” and managed 72 public housing units and 260 Section 8 apartments.
No stranger to Harrison, Rogers worked for the HHA from 1995 to 2010 as its modernization coordinator and management consultant, assisting in the planning of construction work and in obtaining grant monies.
Rogers has an associate degree in general accounting from Illinois Central College, and a business administration degree and a master’s degree in industrial operations from Bradley University in Peoria, Ill.
He is a national housing consultant and has taught housing policy classes for the National Association of Housing & Redevelopment Officials.
In a prepared statement, HHA Board Chairman Laurence Bennett said: “Mr. Rogers brings a vast depth of knowledge and decades of experience to the Harrison Housing Authority. He has extensive skill and proficiency in public housing, with 15 years’ experience as a Public Housing Authority (PHA) Executive Director.
“Additionally, Mr. Rogers has served as management consultant and advised PHAs throughout the nation, on all areas of HUD (U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development) practices, procedures and policies. …
“Mr. Rogers was selected after an extensive and exhaustive national search ….”
The HHA has undertaken searches for a replacement director twice. In its most recent effort – which culminated in an application submission cutoff of Sept. 30, 2013 – it received a fairly wide pool of applicants that its search committee – Irene Almeida, Bennett and Smith – narrowed to eight highly qualified finalists that included candidates from Rochester, N.Y., and New Orleans, and reported its findings and recommendations to the full board, according to one person familiar with the process.
As of last week, Rogers was busy on the job, occupied with a walking tour of the HHA’s Harrison Gardens and Kingsland Apartments clusters, checking on maintenance conditions and other duties.