The Chelsea Housing Authority’s newly named receiver took over the helm officially at the troubled agency Wednesday morning following her appointment by a Supreme Court Justice last week.
The CHA, which hurtled into receivership following revelations that former executive director Mike McLaughlin was receiving a yearly salary of $360,000, is now under her command for at least the next 90 days.
“I am here to follow the order I received from the court which is to act as the temporary receiver of the CHA,” Judith Weber, a housing specialist from Newton, told the Chelsea Record during a brief interview.
She said she had received a warm reception from the present compliment of employees at the CHA.
“I have introduced myself. My plans for the next few days are to become more familiar with the surroundings,” she said.
Weber added that she will be touring the city and the troubled agency’s facilities.
“I am planning to make the rounds with housing authority staff,” she said.
In a hearing held last Monday, Weber was made the first receiver in CHA history.
She is also the first woman to lead the agency.
Her appointment follows shocking revelations about McLaughlin’s salary and other benefits and of the complicity of the CHA Board in awarding those bloated raises and benefits during the past decade.
When McLaughlin was forced to resign by Governor Deval Patrick almost three weeks ago, the CHA Board (all its members have resigned) voted to allow the CHA accountant to write out checks totaling $200,000 to McLaughlin before he left his office for the last time. The checks were apparently for sick time and vacation time.
He has since cashed one of those checks, receiving $80,000. The state put a freeze on its funding of the authority and on the checks that were issued and McLaughlin’s pension request has also been laid on the table pending the outcome of a state and federal investigation.
Local retirement officials estimated his pension will be in the $280,000 range.
Weber is presently employed by VIVA Consultants of Cambridge. She has worked in many capacities for a variety of housing authorities across the nation during a long career.
Most recently she was with the Cambridge Housing Authority.
Weber’s stay is expected to be in the 90 day range, at which time she will report to the SJC to detail the authority’s needs vis a vis the outcome of the various investigations into possible fraud at the CHA.
NAB will host a community meeting next week at St. Luke’s
A community group presentation, sponsored by Neighbors Against Blight (“NAB”) and Rev. Edgar A. Gutiérrez-Duarte Vicar of Saint Luke’s, -San Lucas Episcopal Church, 201 Washington Avenue.
Detective Scott Conley of the Chelsea Police Gang Unit will provide a community presentation about gang violence at Saint Luke’s-San Lucas Episcopal Church on Wednesday, December 7 at 6:30 p.m.
Det. Conley is part of the North Suffolk Gang Task Force Unit and liaisons with the FBI Gang Task Force in order to monitor and prevent gang activity in Chelsea and its surrounding cities.
He will provide a presentation about the different gangs within Chelsea, how to identify these gangs and the discuss the impact they have on our community.