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September 8, 2022 Minutes

Minutes of Meeting

A Meeting of the Norwalk Housing Authority Board of Commissioners was held at 6:29 PM September 8, 2022.

LOCATION: Zoom Video Conference

PRESENT: Jeffery A. Ingraham, Chair
Brenda Penn-Williams, Vice Chair
Rahoul Dupervil, Commissioner
Liza Bermúdez-Montgomery, Treasurer

STAFF ATTENDING: Adam Bovilsky, Executive Director
Kras Carlucci, Deputy Director
Joe Cardone, Director of Finance
Anna Keegan, Director of Housing Operations
Wendy Gerbier, Director of Learning Centers
Greg Lickwola, Director of Modernization
Nicole Ruffin, Director of Human Resources
Lisa Endo, Director of Development Project Manager
Leroy Fender, Director of Maintenance
Linda Rolle, Director of Grants and Development
Donna Lattarulo, General Counsel

Mr. Bovilsky noted at the request of Mayor Rilling, Angela Wasunna has resigned from the Norwalk Housing Board of Commissioners and will be joining the City of Norwalk Charter revision committee. Chairman Ingraham opened the meeting via Zoom and recognized Vice Chair Brenda Penn-Williams, Treasurer Liza Bermudez-Montgomery and Commissioner Rahoul Dupervil as present. Chairman Ingraham acknowledged the existence of a quorum and turned the meeting over to Adam Bovilsky.

Commissioner Dupervil asked for an Executive Session to be added to the agenda. Mr. Bovilsky suggested this be added at the end of New Business.

Report of the Secretary:
• Mr. Bovilsky introduced the new Director of Grants and Development Linda Rolle.

• Mr. Bovilsky presented a report on the NHA's expenditure of Federal Cares Act Public Housing and Housing Choice Voucher funding received by Norwalk Housing. This funding covered specific COVID related expenses such as PPE supplies, additional maintenance payroll for sanitizing, office modifications and rent loss. With HUDs approval the remainder of the grant was used to fund HCV administrative expenses.

• Mr. Bovilsky turned the floor over to Greg Lickwola, Director of Modernization who presented before and after photographs of Chapel Street kitchen and bathroom renovations.

• Mr. Bovilsky requested item c. Payment Standards of his report be moved to New Business matters because it requires a vote by Commissioners.

• Mr. Bovilsky referenced dates of upcoming meetings October 13 and November 10th @ 5:30pm.

Old Business:

Mr. Bovilsky turned the meeting over to Lisa Endo. Ms. Endo presented a memo on the selection of financing and investment partners for Colonial Village Phase II that further clarified the Colonial Village Phase II Management plan. Ms. Endo stated management activities included both Property Management and Asset Management. Ms. Endo stated NHA, Sound Communities (a wholly owned subsidiary of NHA), and Heritage Housing Inc., HHI entered into a Joint Venture Agreement (JVA) to co-develop Colonial Village Phase II (CVII). HHI is responsible for the development budget, securing financing, selecting General Contractors, and other development activities. NHA and Sound Communities are involved in all development activities as well holding specific rights to terminate management agents among other rights.

As stated in the JVA, the initial Management Agent will be responsible for Property Management for two (2) years (although this agreement may be terminated earlier if necessary.) The Management Agent and Sound Communities will jointly manage assets. Sound Communities will have a staff person on-site. During this time Sound Communities will build its capacity to manage Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) property to prepare for the transfer of CVII management responsibilities to Sound Communities exclusively.

18-63 Commissioner Dupervil moved to approve:

a. Richmond Group and Bankwell for the financing of CV Phase II

Commissioner Ingraham seconded the motion.

Mr. Bovilsky stated the LIHTC management experience gained working with the Richmond Group and Bankwell aligns with Norwalk Housing's mission of developing and retaining affordable housing for the City of Norwalk.

Commissioner Ingraham
Commissioner Penn-Williams
Commissioner Bermúdez-Montgomery
Commissioner Dupervil

All in favor by show of hands. Motion was carried.

Mr. Bovilsky turned the floor over to Nicole Ruffin, Director of Human Resources.
Ms. Ruffin presented the policy changes referenced in the COVID 19 Phase III. Ms. Ruffin stated this plan eases office COVID precautions including a relaxed mask policy, lifting travel restrictions, and no longer requiring weekly testing for unvaccinated employees. This updated policy will also allow in-person meetings and provide new guidelines on what to do if employees feel sick.

18-64 Adam Bovilsky requested Commissioner approve:

b. Changes to the COVID-19 Policy

All in favor by a show of hands. Motion was carried.

Responding to a query by Commissioner Bermudez -Montgomery, Mr. Bovilsky stated that the current procedure of residents dropping off paperwork and having limited in-person contact with staff would be continued, only that in-person meetings are now authorized as necessary without supervisor approval. We are not returning to the old system of a lobby full of clients waiting for their appointments.

Adam Bovilsky turned the meeting over to Chairman Ingraham who requested an amendment to the travel policy. Being aware of NHA budget constraints Chairman Ingraham asked that the Commissioners consider an amendment to the NHA travel policy which included caps on Commissioner Travel.

18-65 Chairman Ingraham moved to:

c. Limit Commissioner trips to one (1) local, state, or regional and two (2) national conferences per year.

Commissioners failed to present a second. Motion failed.

New Business:

18-66 Commissioner Penn-Williams moved to table:

a. ACOP and Administrative Plan Changes for discussion at the October meeting.

Commissioner Dupervil seconded the motion.

All in favor by show of hands.

18-67 Commissioner Brenda Penn-Williams moved to approve:

b. August 18, 2022 Minutes

Commissioner Bermúdez-Montgomery seconded the motion.

Commissioner Ingraham
Commissioner Penn-Williams
Commissioner Bermúdez-Montgomery
Commissioner Dupervil

All in favor by show of hands. Motion was carried.

18-68 Commissioner Penn-Williams moved to approve:

d. Department Reports

Commissioner Liza Bermúdez-Montgomery

Commissioner Ingraham
Commissioner Penn-Williams
Commissioner Bermúdez-Montgomery
Commissioner Dupervil

All in favor by show of hands. Motion was carried.

Mr. Bovilsky introduced the Addendum.

18-69 Commissioner Penn-Williams move to approve:

n. Samuel Roy's reimbursement for Gateway College classes totaling $1306.00. These classes are required by the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood (OEC) for Lead Teachers.

Commissioner Dupervil seconded the motion.

Nicole Ruffin stated that the Office of Early Childhood (OEC) has recently changed organization structure and teacher requirements. By taking these classes Mr. Roy will meet current OEC requirements for Lead Teacher.

Commissioner Ingraham
Commissioner Penn-Williams
Commissioner Bermúdez-Montgomery
Commissioner Dupervil

All in favor by show of hands. Motion was carried.

At the request of Mr. Bovilsky Commissioners moved to add item c. Payment Standards from the Report of the Secretary to New Business.

Mr. Bovilsky stated due to the recent dramatic rent increases HUD has raised 2023 Section 8/HCV Fair Market Rent by 15% and is allowing them to become effective as of October 1, 2022 instead of January 1, 2023. NHA staff are requesting the Commissioners approve new payment standards to match the increased FMR. These payment standards will eventually need to be increased again to include Move to Work (MTW) payment standard increases in Norwalk census tract numbers referenced as areas of higher opportunity.

18-70 Commissioner Bermúdez-Montgomery moved to approve:

c. HUD October 01, 2022 Housing Choice Voucher Standards

Commissioner Penn-Williams seconded the motion.

All in favor by show of hands. Motion was carried.

Commissioner Dupervil suggested adjourning into an Executive Session to discuss his complaint regarding a member of NHA staff. As Mr. Bovilsky, hearing of this for the first time, suggested this discussion could be held offline and if necessary, added to the next meeting. General Counsel Donna Lattarulo stated that to meet FOI regulations regarding employment, the employee involved had the right to formal notice and to decide if the matter would be on the record or in executive session. Commissioner Penn-Williams asked what the next steps would be. Mr. Bovilsky clarified that a complaint made in writing with detail would be necessary to take any additional steps.

Chairman Ingraham moved to adjourn the meeting.

All in favor. The meeting adjourned at 8:03pm.

Respectfully Submitted,

Adam Bovilsky
Executive Director