Two longtime Hempstead Village residents -- an architect and a well-connected Democratic official -- have been appointed by the village board as new commissioners for the village's troubled housing authority.
The authority is the subject of federal administrative and criminal investigations.
Marcia Turner and Andrena Wyatt -- picked by Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall Sr. for the seven-member board -- were approved unanimously at Tuesday's meeting. All board seats now are filled.
"I chose them because I wanted to get a fresh start in the housing authority," said Hall, who appoints five board members. "I know these two women would do the right thing on the board as commissioners, so we can get the housing authority back on the right track and bring back integrity to the board."
The beleaguered agency is the subject of an administrative review from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development and a criminal investigation by HUD's Office of the Inspector General, which operates independently from HUD.
Last month, the housing authority board placed executive director Stacey Stackhouse on 30-day administrative leave without pay. New board chairman Gilford Finch, who took over last month after Cornell Bozier resigned, has refused Hall's call for his own resignation. Accounting clerk Margarita Shif has been handling the authority's day-to-day financial operations, officials have said.
The housing authority is $1.3 million in deficit, Finch said at a meeting Thursday night, citing an April letter from HUD.
The status of Stackhouse, the executive director since May 2011, has yet to be determined pending the board reconvening, housing authority attorney Charlene Thompson said. In the meantime, the authority is seeking to appoint an interim director, Thompson said.
She said the authority suggested a process for such an appointment to HUD and is awaiting the agency's feedback.
Wyatt, 44, a public information supervisor for the Nassau County Board of Elections and village resident for more than 25 years, has a dual bachelor's degree in psychology and political science from Long Island University. She is president of the New Hempstead Democratic Club, executive board member of the village's Community Benefits Agreement Committee, and a member of the planning board.
"My first thing is to identify the problems and to work with the rest of the board members to eliminate those problems," said Wyatt, who attended the meeting with Turner.
Turner, a village resident since 1987, is an assistant architect for the New York City Housing Authority. She has a bachelor of science degree in architecture and a bachelor of architecture from City College. "We hope that something good will come out of this new board," she said. "I want to see some changes."