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CHA Redirects Search Process, Appoints At-Large Alternate Member, Authorizes Grant Acceptance

The Chaffee Housing Authority (CHA) Board of Directors held their monthly meeting on Thurs. Feb. 16. Vice Chair, Joseph Teipel welcomed guests Abby Peters, program manager from the Chaffee County Economic Development Corporation and “Salty” Riggs, founder of the BETCH housing advocacy group. After hearing committee reports, directors discussed and voted on key items.

Joseph Teipel, Town of Buena Vista Planning Director. Photo courtesy CHA and Art of Her

Hiring Committee Updates  Executive Director Search

Amending the agenda, Vice Chair Teipel provided an update from the search committee to replace founding Executive Director Becky Gray. Teipel reported that as of Feb. 13 none of the applications received met the full criteria.

Gray’s last day on site is now scheduled for March 17, the board discussed the option of engaging an interim director to allow time for a wider search to be completed, also using the resources of the county Human Resources staff.

The practice of interim hiring is common in government and has been applied numerous times here in the past, including the Salida City Administrator and Community Development Director positions.

The comprehensive job description is challenging and a search may be hindered by the cost of living vs. budgeted pay range in Chaffee County. Director Eileen Rogers said the CHA needs a skilled interim director as soon as possible. Director Ashley Kappel agreed. Teipel said they will consider both internal and external interim candidates and the committee will pursue that strategy.

Alternate At-Large Seat Selected

Gray reported on a positive search effort to fill an Alternate At-Large board member position. She noted that “While cognizant of the desire for equity within the Board demographics, as well as a desire to have the voice of lived experience with housing insecurity at the Board table, we are also cognizant of a forthcoming staffing transition, the launch of Jane’s Place, and the need to further refine and adopt administrative and financial practices within the organization.”

Gray said that the board skills matrix was used to help the CHA achieve a balance of its recruiting goals. Of the 12 applicants, eight were selected for video interviews, which were conducted by Gray and Deputy Director Mike Bischoff.

Gray added that she was pleased to note that “All interviewees agreed to serve on a committee, even if not selected for the Board, and all interviewees agreed to allow the CHA to use their application and interview for future Board positions, should they not be selected for this one.

Due to the Executive Director departure, a few seats that were set to expire last month were extended to help with the transition, opening the door for more new faces later this year. The At-Large members are nominated by the CHA while those aligned with the county, Buena Vista (BV) or Salida are nominated by their respective elected officials. Lisa-Parnell Rowe has joined the CHA as an alternate from Buena Vista (BV), as appointed by the BV Trustees.

After brief discussion, Director Dominique Naccarato moved that local resident and businessperson Tricia Arosemena be appointed to the position. The motion was seconded by Rogers and approved unanimously.

Resolution 2023-04 authorizes CHA Board Chair to sign OEDIT grant

On anther high note,  Gray proposed a motion to formally accept a $1.3 million grant award from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade’s (OEDIT) Community Revitalization Grant program. The money will be used as a significant addition to the capital aquired for the CHA Jane’s Place housing project in Salida. The grant application was initially proposed by Gray and Teipel prior to Teipel joining the Town of Buena Vista.

The motion was passed unanimously.

Development Committee Program Objectives:

In other business, Development Committee Chair Ashley Kappel reported on the newly-developed committee description and charter, which was adopted at this meeting. Objectives for this key committee for 2023 include:

  • Oversight of Jane’s Place development, financing, and construction 
  • Determine goals for [housing] unit development over the next two, five, and ten years
  • Identify levers to negotiate with developers in the CHA Special Limited Partnership (SLP)* program
  • Create a CHA SLP Development Participation Policy
  • Develop a Request for Proposal (RFP) to solicit proposals from developers for the first SLP project(s)
  • Evaluate SLP partnership development proposals and make selection recommendations to the Board

While no timeline or metrics for measuring progress were yet noted, it is expected that the majority of effort by the committee in the short term will be for oversight of Jane’s Place. This committee is currently meeting twice monthly; the dates and times will appear on the newly posted public-facing CHA calendar.

Board meeting times adjusted

Responding to conflicts affecting working parents serving on the CHA board, it was decided that the meeting time will change to 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., while still on the third Thursday of the month.

Meetings are held in the Mt. Shavano Room on the second floor of the Touber Building at 448 East First Street in Salida. Agendas and meeting links are posted to the Calendar section of the main Chaffee County website a few days ahead of each session, the next of which is scheduled for March 16.

Editor note: *an SLP is defined by the CHA as “an ownership structure allowed between a tax-exempt entity and a developer wherein the tax-exempt entity retains an ownership interest (often 0.01 percent) in a project and grants its tax-exempt status, typically in exchange for affordability agreements.”