NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The city missed a midnight federal deadline to appoint a permanent chair to oversee the troubled city housing authority, but now has been given 45 days to fill the position.
HUD imposed timelines to repair crumbling apartments and hire a new head for helping the more than 400,000 people living in housing authority residences.
De Blasio said running NYCHA was a big job for a particular person.
“We’ve looked at dozen of candidates already, an intensive day-by-day process,” he said. “We all agreed we want to take a little more time here. We think there are some other candidates that would be really important to consider, so this is going to stretch out a little bit longer.
“It’s like hiring a mayor for a city of 400,000 people,” the mayor added. “There’s 400,000 people at NYCHA who are really going to depend on that new chair. We all want to make that decision carefully and get it right.”
Kathryn Garcia, the former head of the Department of Sanitation, continues to serve as interim NYCHA chair.
NYCHA residents told CBS2’s Cline-Thomas they’re ready for action. Who can blame them? Lead paint, rats and broken plumbing are just some of a growing list of concerns.
“It’s a lot of talk. It’s a lot of empty promises and stuff, so I don’t really believe what they’re saying and stuff like that,” resident Cenon Inocent said.
In February, Lynne Patton, HUD’s regional director, spent a month living in various NYCHA buildings across the city and called the conditions “nothing short of a humanitarian crisis.”
“Safety, that has to be number one and cleaning it up,” resident Joseph Torres said. “If you look around, there’s garbage everywhere.”
Patton accused the city of mismanaging federal funding and said she thinks criminal charges should be pursued. She also questioned why finding a new NYCHA chair was taking so long.
De Blasio accused Patton of playing politics and said her claims were not true.
As for naming a permanent chair, the mayor stresses it’s a big job and his office has been working in cooperation with the federal government in what he called an intensive process.
De Blasio addressed missing the deadline on New York 1’s “Mondays With The Mayor.”
“It’s like being a mayor of a city of 400,000 people,” he said. “The NYCHA chair has responsibility for 400,000 people and their domain.
“It’s a big tough job,” he said. “It takes a particular person to do it.”