Medford Mayor Michael J. McGlynn said he will recommend to the City Council a candidate to fill a vacancy on the board of commissioners for the embattled Medford Housing Authority at the council's next meeting Aug. 8.
Current Commissioner Sylvia-Jean Baumeister is expected to retire after 30 years of service, McGlynn said.
McGlynn, in a phone interview, said he is considering a short list of candidates for the position, but declined to name anyone before he makes his official recommendation to the councilors, who must confirm the selection.
"In many boards and commissioners in the past, we've learned, there are a lot of people who used to want to serve on boards to resume-build," McGlynn said. "I want someone who is going to be very involved. I want someone who cares about the housing population. I want someone who understand the role the state and the federal government plays in providing housing to residents in the community."
The Housing Authority has been under intense public scrutiny since it's former director, Robert Covelle, left the agency amid accusations he hired his friends, gave contracts to close associates, and intimidated employees who disagreed with his management style. The resignation followed a critical federal audit released in April that detailed questionable procurement practice and other inconsistencies at the agency.
Governor Deval Patrick called for Covelle's ouster, and replaced the state's appointed member of the commission, Eugune McGillicuddy, with Sean Caron, director of public policy at a nonprofit housing group. Michael Pacious has been serving as interim director since Covelle was placed on unpaid leave in April.
In a phone interview, Caron said the board's primary focus moving forward will be searching for a new executive director.
"Having the permanency of a new director would be helpful and would allow Michael to transition back into focusing on the finances of the authority," Caron said.
After McGillicuddy, Baumeister's retirement marks the third position on the five-member commission that will be filled this year. The other new member, Heather F. Merchant, was confirmed by the City Council July 10, and fills the long-vacant tenant commissioner role, McGlynn said.Whoever the nominee, city councilors will have an opportunity to discuss and vote on the mayor's selection. "If things go well, there should be a full [Housing Commission] board by Aug. 8," McGlynn said.