Housing board undecided on director

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 22, 1999

ERIK SANZENBACH / L’Observateur / December 22, 1999

LAPLACE – The self-imposed deadline of Dec. 31, 1999 is drawing near,but the Board of Commissioners for the St. John Parish Housing Authorityhas still been unable to choose an executive director from among five finalists.

“All the candidates are great,” said Board Chairperson Sheila Morris, “and it is really hard to make a decision.”At a special meeting Monday night at the St. John Parish Housing Authorityoffice on Joe Parquet Circle, the Board of Commissioners spent four hours in executive session interviewing the five finalists.

The board chose five finalists from 16 applications for the job. They areKurt Becnel, an operations manager for IMPCO Inc. and a resident ofWallace; Vondra Chambers, an employee of the Justice Department in New Orleans; Ellen Grant, a social worker at the Re-Direction School in Garyville; Thomas Golsen, who is originally from Oakland, Calif. but hasworked in public housing for the past 30 years and is working as a consultant for the Board of Commissioners at the present time; and St.

John Parish resident Felix Dottolo, who ran the Job Training Program for three years.

Since September, when Executive Director Patrena Ester was fired, the SJPHA has been run by interim Executive Director Earl White, a St. Jamesresident who said he does not want the job on a permanent basis.

Commissioner Eula Young called for another special meeting of the Board Dec. 29 at 6 p.m. to make the final decision.”We tried tonight, but it was just too hard, ” said Young. “We didn’t knowthere would be such a good quality of candidates.”

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