CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday turned to outside the state’s borders to tap Charlotte, N.C., housing official Charles Woodyard as the new chief executive officer of the Chicago Housing Authority.
The appointment is effective Oct. 24. Interim CEO Carlos Ponce will remain as a senior adviser to ease the transition. “Charles Woodyard has proven management ability and a history of innovation in public housing, and is the right man to lead the CHA to the successful completion of its Plan for Transformation and beyond,” Emanuel said in a statement.
Woodyard has served as CEO of the Charlotte Housing Authority since 2002. He has worked in the sector for three decades, focused on targeted asset management and engaging communities in providing the most effective public housing options for residents, the city statement read.
“I am looking forward to getting to work in Chicago and tackling the challenges facing the Chicago Housing Authority,” Woodyard said.
Emanuel also announced that the CHA board chair also will no longer receive compensation. The chairman previously received $100,000 annually. Former Mayor Richard Daley last year tapped James Reynolds, chief executive officer of Loop Capital Markets LLC, for the post. “This is another step in making sure taxpayer funds are being used effectively to provide the best services to the people of Chicago,” the statement read.
Daley won back control of the CHA from federal authorities in 1999 and launched the partially bond-financed $1.6 billion Plan for Transformation. Senior facilities and low-rise buildings are being renovated under the plan and crime-ridden high rises were torn down and are being replaced with mixed-use developments supported by private development. The plan was originally supposed to be completed by 2010 but it has been pushed back to 2015 due to the housing crisis.
The CHA, the country’s third-largest public housing agency, manages a housing stock of about 18,000 units. The transformation plan’s goal is for the agency to manage 25,000 units. The plan has come under public criticism for the temporary displacement of residents during the reconstruction process.