Remaining Chattanooga Housing Authority staff will absorb the duties of 24 former employees who recently were laid off, agency officials said.
Housing authority officials held a private meeting with employees Friday to discuss the impact on the agency.
“Any time you lose that many employees, it’s going to be an impact on the immediate effects of operations,” housing authority board Chairman Eddie Holmes said.
A decrease in morale also is normal, but the authority will reorganize, move forward and continue serving residents, he said.
The discussion was a part of the housing authority’s quarterly employee meeting. Officials said they also hope to serve residents by seeking partnerships with the city for recreational activities and to continue their partnership with Hamilton County Schools for summer camps.
Housing authority officials said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funding cuts led to the layoffs of local employees this month.
The Quarterly Review of the housing authority’s executive director distributed at Friday’s meeting stated, “In 2007 alone CHA lost more than $1.9 million ... in operational funding, and expect the same level of reduced funding for 2008.”
The housing authority has had more than $6.3 million cut from its operations since 2003, the report states.
The Knoxville Community Development Corp. said it had planned for the budget cuts and had no layoffs this year. However in New York, home of the largest public housing system in the country, 190 people were dismissed from jobs this month, according to news reports.
Some former employees of the local housing authority who had been laid off said they could not discuss the layoff publicly because their severance pay would be affected.
Chattanooga Housing Authority officials said their attorneys wrote a standard nondisclosure clause that could affect employees’ severance pay if breached.
“Those employees affected by this (the layoffs) agreed not to discuss confidential information about CHA,” said Cheryl Marsh, public information coordinator with the housing authority.
Managers, maintenance workers, resident workers and clerical administrative staff were among those laid off. Residents said they especially miss resident relations officer Johnetta Lane and community development director Gary Rudolph.
Mr. Rudolph was recognized at the housing authority’s last board meeting for receiving a technology grant to fund a Black History Month project that enabled young residents to help senior residents research their family histories.
Ms. Lane was a liaison for residents and housing authority management, said Dorothy Henry, a member of the citywide resident advisory committee.
“If we couldn’t get anything from management, we could go to her, and she would work with the tenants and management until the problem was resolved,” Ms. Henry said. “And if she couldn’t help you, she didn’t try to hurt you.”
Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...