PHA returned to local control and a new Board of
Commissioners formally took office. Former Commissioner Estelle
Richman, Board Chairperson Lynette M. Brown-Sow, PHA President
& CEO Kelvin A. Jeremiah, Rev. Bonnie Camarda, Kenneth A.
Murphy, Esq., Joan Markman, Esq., the Honorable Nelson A. Diaz,
Shellie R. Jackson, Rev. Leslie D. Callahan, Vernell Tate, and
Herbert Wetzel celebrate the end of HUD
(PHILADELPHIA, PA - April 26, 2013) - The
Philadelphia Housing Authority ("PHA") returned to local control as
its new Board of Commissioners formally took office. U.S.
Department of Housing and Urban Development ("HUD") Assistant
Secretary Sandra B. Henriquez presented a declaration to the City
releasing the agency from federal control during PHA's board
Since March 2011, PHA has been under HUD control with Estelle B.
Richman, Senior Advisor to the HUD Secretary, serving as the sole
member of the board. She has been replaced by nine new
members, who were appointed by Mayor Michael A. Nutter and approved
by City Council.
"I take pride and pleasure in having this opportunity to leave
this agency with the team we have in place," said Richman. "The
time has come for HUD to step aside and allow this agency to
continue the progress it has made independent of the federal
Under a law passed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly last
year, the number of board members was increased from five to nine,
with the Mayor nominating all Commissioners, subject to approval by
the City Council. Pursuant to the new law, two of the Commissioners
are currently PHA residents.
"I want to thank U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, Assistant Secretary Sandra
Henriquez and Estelle Richman, the Secretary's senior advisor who
acted as PHA's sole board member through this time of transition. I
deeply appreciate their cooperation and support. Now, with PHA's
return to local control, the City of Philadelphia has the
opportunity to better coordinate housing policy, related investment
decisions and neighborhood revitalization in a transparent and
coherent manner that involves all housing agencies and stakeholders
for the benefit of the people who live in PHA housing and all
Philadelphians," said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. "Equally important,
the re-establishment of local control with a new governance
structure means real accountability. The Authority in all its
actions is responsible to the Mayor who, in turn, is answerable to
the voters. This significant reform could not have been achieved
without the strong support of the Philadelphia City Council, the
Pennsylvania House of Representatives, the Pennsylvania Senate and
Gov. Corbett. Under PHA President Kelvin Jeremiah's leadership, PHA
has instituted strong internal controls, and now with a talented
PHA Board of Commissioners prepared to carry out its duties, a new
era of accountability, responsibility and transparency begins that
will benefit PHA residents and staff and all Philadelphians."
Over the last two years, PHA has put in place stricter internal
controls, a stronger management structure, and a robust audit and
compliance department. The agency also has a fully functional Human
Resources Department and Office of General Counsel (OGC). The
Human Resources staff has trained all employees on the rules of
engagement, including, but not limited to, standards of ethical
conduct, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), and anti-fraud
policies. The OGC is sufficiently staffed with highly-skilled
attorneys who are capable of performing functions that were
"Thanks to the collective leadership and the support of HUD,
Mayor Nutter and Council President Darrell Clarke, PHA is ready to
revert to local control after more than two years in receivership.
This, along with strong internal controls, an experienced executive
staff and a dedicated board, has truly equipped the agency to
operate efficiently and effectively for years to come." said Kelvin
Jeremiah, PHA President & CEO. "I believe this committed board,
with its wide range of experiences in the community, can govern the
agency in a thoughtful and highly ethical manner. Today marks an
important achievement for PHA and its staff. We are no longer
looking to the past with regret and disappointment. Instead, we are
looking forward-to the future, to seize the opportunities it holds,
and to take back PHA's good name and reclaim its legacy."
Prior to their seating, the board members received extensive
training from PHA and HUD, including sessions on Ethical Conduct,
Conflict of Interest, EEO and the Fair Housing Act. They have
also been attending resident and board meetings. The new
- Lynette M. Brown-Sow - Vice President of Marketing and
Government Relations for Community College of Philadelphia.
- Leslie D. Callahan, PhD - Pastor of St. Paul's Baptist Church
in North Philadelphia.
- Rev. Bonnie Camarda - Director of Partnerships for the
Salvation Army of Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware.
- Hon. Nelson A. Diaz - a former City Solicitor, Common Pleas
Court Judge, and General Counsel for HUD who currently serves as a
Partner at Dilworth Paxson, LLP.
- Shellie R. Jackson - a PHA resident who lives at Hill Creek
Apartments in Northeast Philadelphia.
- Joan Markman, Esq. - the city's Chief Integrity Officer and a
former Assistant United States Attorney.
- Kenneth A. Murphy, Esq. - a Partner and Vice-Chair of the
Products Liability and Mass Tort Practice Group at Drinker Biddle
& Reath, LLP.
- Vernell Tate - a PHA resident and President of the Spring
Garden Resident Council, located just north of Center City.
- Herbert Wetzel - the Executive Director of Housing and
Community Development for City Council.
PHA Board meetings will now be held every third Thursday of the
month. The next board meeting is May 16, 2013 at 3pm.