Housing director resigns

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The newly hired executive director for the Yampa Valley Housing Authority has resigned from the position for health reasons.

Jayne Garcia, who took the executive director position in July, handed in her resignation early last week, and the board called a special meeting Oct. 28 to announce the resignation, housing authority president Kathi Meyer said. The housing authority will resume a nationwide search for an executive director and hopes to find a replacement by January or February, Meyer said.

Many of the applicants and finalists selected in the last hiring process no longer are available or interested in the position, Meyer said.

"It will be tough to replace Jayne," Meyer said. "But it is an opportunity for someone else to come in and really make a difference. That is really the up side of the job."

Garcia said the decision to resign was a difficult one and that the reasons are strictly health related.

"I am really, really very sad to leave," Garcia said. "It didn't have anything to do with the staff or the board or the city of Steamboat Springs or the job ahead of us. It was totally for health reasons."

After a three-month search involving 40 applicants and three finalists, the housing authority selected Garcia in June. Garcia was the former director of housing for the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation in Topeka, Kan. She partly was chosen for the job because of her work with fund raising, grant writing and putting pieces of financing packages together.

Garcia was the first executive director of the housing authority, which was established in November 2003; the board was appointed in February.

Meyer, who was the interim director between the time the previous director, Ellen Hoj, resigned and Garcia took the job, will resume those duties on a voluntary basis.

The lack of a director will slow the process of transferring the assets from the Regional Affordable Living Foundation to the housing authority, which was intended to be finished by the end of the year. And Meyer said that as the board searches for a new director, the housing authority probably would not take on any more projects.

The housing authority is working to gather families to participate in two self-help housing projects in Hayden and Oak Creek and is in the planning stages of a housing project off Hilltop Parkway in Steamboat Springs.

With the exception of the executive director's position, the housing authority is fully staffed, Meyer said, with recent hires being made for a new group manager for the self-help housing program and an office manager.

In the short time Garcia was with the housing authority, Meyer said she had accomplished many things. Garcia worked to put together a grant proposal that would allow future housing units to upgrade their energy efficiency level. She also reviewed the board's policy and procedures and made recommendations on how the organization could be more effective, Meyer said.

When Garcia arrived, she said there was not a housing authority office. She got the office running and has developed personnel policy and procedures.

Garcia said she would continue to provide services to the housing authority on a contractual basis. Garcia plans to return to Topeka, and her last day is Nov. 19.

-- To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229

or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com

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