Authority has new director

By Peter H. Milliken


Carmelita Douglas is the Youngstown Metropolitan Housing Authority’s new executive director.

The five-member YMHA board of directors unanimously selected Douglas, an 18-year agency employee, for the job Thursday after a one-hour executive session.

The board conducted a national search that yielded about 30 applicants, said David Turner, board chairman. The board had considered a candidate from Florida for the position but decided to go with Douglas.

Douglas will remain interim executive director while details of her contract, including her salary, are negotiated, Turner said, adding that he hopes she can assume her new title before July 1.

“We think she’s a perfect fit for the direction YMHA is headed, and we believe that she will do an exceptional job of continuing to serve YMHA and the agency’s residents and the community,” Turner said.

Turner said Douglas was chosen because of her knowledge of the Youngstown metropolitan area, the workings of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and because of her “commitment to serving the community.”

A Youngstown native, Douglas received a bachelor’s degree in health education from Youngstown State University.

She was drug-elimination program coordinator at the Pittsburgh-based Allegheny County Housing Authority before joining the housing authority here.

Douglas served YMHA as director of the drug-elimination program and grant-application writer, program planning and monitoring administrator, director of special projects and director of internal audit before becoming interim executive director 10 months ago.

“Right now, we’re a standard performer, and one of my goals is to take the agency to high-performer status” in HUD ratings, she said.

HUD is the federal agency that regulates and funds YMHA and all other federally subsidized housing authorities in the nation.

The executive-director position at YMHA has been vacant since the departure of Clifford Scott, who left last July to become director of the Omaha Housing Authority in Nebraska. When he left here, Scott’s annual salary was $93,840.

In other board business, Lester Walker, YMHA project manager, told the board the first three residents moved into the authority’s refurbished 76-unit Brier Hill Annex apartment complex Thursday after a $10 million renovation that closed the annex for about a year.

Douglas said a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house are planned for the annex in the final days of this month, with U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Niles, D-17th, expected to attend. The exact day and time will be announced, she said.

Around Oct. 1, the first occupants are expected to move into the first phase of the $20-million Village at Arlington, which is replacing the demolished Westlake Terrace apartments, Douglas said.

Douglas said it is likely, but not yet confirmed, that first lady Michelle Obama will appear for the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the village’s first phase, which is under construction.

Then-first lady Eleanor Roosevelt cut the ribbon for Westlake Terrace’s opening in 1938, Douglas said.

The YMHA board passed a resolution authorizing Douglas to sign the documents necessary to proceed with the second phase of the Village at Arlington. Each phase has 60 units.

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