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Huntington Community Development Agency gets new deputy director

Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci on Sept. 9,

Huntington Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci on Sept. 9, 2019. Credit: Barry Sloan

The board of the Huntington Community Development Agency has appointed a new deputy director.

Timothy Francis was named to the $90,000-a-year job at a meeting of the board on Nov. 4. Francis had worked since August 2018 in the town’s general services department, where he made about $70,000, town officials said.

CDA board member Mark Cuthbertson criticized the appointment because no other candidates were considered, town policies to provide resumes three weeks before a candidate is to be voted on were not followed, and because of what he said was the candidate's lack of experience.

"Based on his resume, he has no housing authority experience whatsoever," Cuthbertson said. "His experience prior to being in the general services department, he was basically out of college and was a fitness instructor."

Board member Gene Cook sponsored the resolution that was approved 3-2 with board member Joan Cergol joining Cuthbertson in a no vote.

"I was not prepared to vote on that appointment," Cergol said, citing the narrow search for a candidate.

The CDA's mission is to serve the needs of low- to moderate-income residents through various programs and services funded by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and other sources. These include managing the town’s rental and ownership affordable housing and the lotteries related to such housing. Its board is made up of town board members.

Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci said the resume policy did not apply to the CDA. He said Francis had been working at the short-staffed agency for the past month, showing "great aptitude" in the temporary role.

"All town board members have not only had Mr. Francis' resume for over two years but during that time, they have worked alongside him in his role as deputy director of general services," Lupinacci said. "It is disingenuous to ask for a resume update when this person has been very visibly providing essential services and gaining valuable insight into the inner workings of town operations right before their very eyes."

Cuthbertson said the CDA was the only department that had errors in a recent independent auditors’ report, issues related to federal HUD regulations not being followed or reports filed.

"HUD has, as evidenced by the errors that were in our audit, pretty extensive requirements and because of that it’s best to have people who have experience in that field," Cuthbertson said. "No one like that was even considered."

The CDA recently came under scrutiny for what Cuthbertson called "gaming" of the system by its employees after two CDA staffers were ranked near the top of a list for affordable homes in a Melville development. One of those employees, whose three family members also made the list, was eventually able to close on a house.

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