Public housing

NYCHA chief ousted after public housing arsenic scare

Eric Adams, Mayor of New York

The head of the New York City Housing Authority is being removed from office and the search for a new permanent CEO is underway, Mayor Eric Adams announced Thursday.

Gregory Russ, appointed in 2019 by Adams’ predecessor Bill de Blasio, will retain the title of chairman while current NYCHA general counsel Lisa Bova-Hiatt has been named interim CEO, the mayor’s office announced. . A nationwide search for a permanent CEO is launched with the help of officials from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

“We can’t wait any longer to make transformational changes so NYCHA can provide safe, high-quality housing for New Yorkers,” Adams said in a statement. “I am committed to working with my partners in government to identify the right leaders and the right structure for NYCHA to deliver on its promises to public housing residents. I want to thank Lisa Bova-Hiatt for her dedicated service to our city and for stepping up at this critical time to set NYCHA on the right track.

NYCHA and Adams came under fire earlier this month when residents of the Jacob Riis homes in Manhattan were told there was arsenic in their drinking water, only to be told a week later the tests were flawed and that the water was safe, The city reports.

The housing authority owns and operates nearly 180,000 apartments and is home to about 1 in 16 New Yorkers, according to its website. He was placed by HUD and federal prosecutors under a federal monitor in 2017 after years of delayed maintenance and mismanagement, living conditions have been poor.

Russian was highest paid city employee at the time of his appointment in 2019.

“For too long, NYCHA has been underserved and residents have been left behind,” Jessica Katz, NYC housing officer, said in a statement. “That will not happen under this administration, and we will work closely with the interim CEO and eventually permanent CEO to ensure that we finally provide the services and quality of life NYCHA residents deserve.