Housing Commission to Hire New Director

The Ann Arbor Housing Commission expects to hire a new executive director by mid- to late October, following the resignation of former AAHC executive director Marge Novak this summer. Novak resigned effective July 29, 2011 to take a position with an affordable housing investment firm.

The Chronicle has not observed any mention of this transition at public meetings of the Ann Arbor city council. The June 2011 AAHC board minutes record that Novak had tendered her resignation by that commission meeting, with AAHC deputy director Nick Coquillard appointed as interim at the July 2011 AAHC board meeting.

As recently as Sept. 23, 2011, the AAHC website read: “The Board of Commissioners announced that the Executive Director of the AAHC, Margaret Novak, has accepted a position with an affordable housing investment firm and has tendered her resignation effective July 29, 2011. The Board praised Ms. Novak’s service and observed that she leaves the AAHC in a strong position to attract interested candidates for the Executive Director position.” That text was recovered from Google’s cache memory of the page, but the current page does not include that material. Board meeting minutes reflect that the job was posted and a search committee has been formed.

Novak was hired for the permanent job in May 2010 after serving as interim for 10 months. That hire came less than two months after the city council voted, at its March 15, 2010 meeting, to dissolve the housing commission board and appoint new members. Among other issues, the city administration was dissatisfied with the board’s progress towards hiring an executive director.

The city council’s liaison to the AAHC through that transitional period was Tony Derezinski (Ward 2). He recently stepped down as liaison in order to serve on the city’s public art commission after Jeff Meyers resigned from that group. Stephen Kunselman (Ward 3), who had previously served as council liaison to AAHC, publicly offered to replace Derezinski, but at the council’s Sept. 19 meeting, mayor John Hieftje indicated he would be nominating Margie Teall (Ward 4) to that position, instead of Kunselman.

In a telephone interview with The Chronicle, Kunselman confirmed that he was aware of Novak’s resignation when he offered to serve as liaison to AAHC, and that it had been one reason he was interested in serving in that role.

The Chronicle learned about Novak’s resignation while confirming the back story for a one-man downtown protest. The protest, which consisted of an AAHC property resident waving a large American flag, was observed by more than one Chronicle reader over recent days [at Packard & Main, Main & Liberty and Fifth & Huron]. A similar protest was staged last year in March. The AAHC property in question is Baker Commons, located at the intersection of Packard and Main streets. The man’s current complaint relates to a window replacement project at Baker Commons that is behind schedule.

In response to a phone message with a query about the status of the window replacement project, Coquillard clarified that the window replacement was, in fact, delayed and had turned out to be a very technical project. However, AAHC is almost ready to post bids for the project, he said.

In checking the AACH website to get contact information to inquire about Baker Commons, The Chronicle noticed that the staff directory listing for AAHC showed the executive directorship as vacant, with Coquillard serving as interim executive director.