Bradley Aide Will Temporarily Head Housing Agency
Gary Squier, the mayor’s housing coordinator, was named Monday to temporarily replace Leila Gonzalez-Correa as executive director of the Los Angeles City Housing Authority.
Squier, 37, assumes control of an agency that has been widely criticized for its management problems and poor relations with tenant groups under Gonzalez-Correa, who resigned abruptly last week. Squier said he will manage the agency’s 750 employees and $135-million budget on an interim basis until a permanent successor is recruited.
“I will work closely with the Resident Advisory Council to assure that the Housing Authority is responding to resident concerns, and that the residents have the opportunity to become more active participants in the future of their communities,” Squier said.
Search Committee Appointed
A search committee to replace Gonzalez-Correa--headed by Louis Janicich, vice chairman of the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners--was appointed Monday to fill the job as quickly as possible, said Carl D. Covitz, board chairman. Covitz said that tenant representatives “more than likely” will participate in the search for the new director.
Gonzalez-Correa cited mounting criticism and lack of support from housing commissioners in her decision to resign, effective March 31, housing officials said.
She is vacationing in Florida but has agreed to serve as a consultant to the city during the transition period between her tenure and Squier’s, officials said. How much she will be paid for her consultant work is to be negotiated, Covitz said.
Covitz, who spoke with Gonzalez-Correa on Sunday night but refused to say what they talked about, said he did not yet know what qualities he is looking for in an executive director. He said he reluctantly accepted Gonzalez-Correa’s resignation, and he went out of his way not to criticize the embattled executive director.
“Mrs. Gonzalez-Correa has given the Housing Authority 30 months of dedicated and committed service in this difficult job,” Covitz said. “She has agreed to assist the Housing Authority during this transition, for which we are truly grateful.”
Squier’s salary as interim executive director has not been determined, officials said.
Gonzalez-Correa is under investigation by city officials for awarding more than $200,000 in contracts to her acquaintances and to political supporters of Mayor Tom Bradley without following competitive procedures. Also, auditors from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on Monday began a two-week examination of contracting practices at the Housing Authority.
Squier, hired by the mayor’s office in October, 1987, to formulate a comprehensive housing policy, is considered the most innovative thinker at City Hall on housing issues. Many city officials hope he will help Los Angeles catch up with Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and other major cities that have launched imaginative programs to build public housing.
A co-founder of the Skid Row Development Corp., Squier has completed graduate studies at the UCLA School of Architecture and Urban Planning. He has worked as a nonprofit private developer and planning consultant for low-income and affordable housing.