More changes come to the CHA with John T Hooker as new Chairman

The Chicago Housing Authority will welcome a new board chairman in August, when current Chairwoman Zaldwaynaka “Z” Scott retires from the position. Mayor Emanuel has chosen John T. Hooker as Scott’s replacement. Hooker has worked for more than forty years for ComEd, most recently as vice president of legislative and external affairs, lobbying for the company’s agenda in Springfield.

ComEd does help low-income families with special hardship grants and utility assistance, so Hooker has had some exposure to the needs of CHA program participants. And he knows his way around Springfield, which is always a helpful asset in Chicago politics. That his appointment comes only a few weeks after the appointment of Eugene Jones as CEO of the CHA is unsettling and points to the continued instability of our city’s housing authority.

A study released in 2014 by the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability revealed the CHA accrued a multi-million dollar surplus between 2008 and 2012, resulting in thousands of unreleased vouchers. Earlier this month, HUD Secretary Julian Castro expressed concerns over the surplus and  the authority to release this money to the thousands of applicants on its waiting lists.

Perhaps with a new CEO and a new Chairman, efficiency and transparency will become commonplace at the CHA. Having witnessed the effect that years of bureaucratic complacency have wrought, however, I am not especially hopeful.

 

Comments

  1. Robert Rohdenburg says:

    The Chicago Housing Initiative and aldermen will be introducing the new Keeping The Promise ordinance on CHA accountability and transparency at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle, 2nd Floor, Wednesday 7/29 at 9am. A Housing and Real Estate Committee hearing on the new Keeping The Promise ordinance is expected in September.

    • aravitz12 says:

      Hi Robert,
      Thank you for letting me know about this! I will keep an ear out for upcoming developments.

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