Documenter: Heather Halsey Martinez

Here’s what you need to know:

  • The Fresno Housing Authority joint boards of commissioners approved a CEO employment agreement for Tyrone Williams, who currently serves as the Deputy Executive Director at Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency. His agreement runs from Nov. 1, 2021 through 2024 with a salary of $250,000, which may be adjusted during the term of the agreement.

  • The commissioners approved five items on the consent calendar, including two general construction contract awards, trade service contracts for up to $250,000 annually and acceptance of $19 million in tax credits for the Corazon del Valle Commons project in Huron. 

  • The commissioners approved adoption of the 2022 agency annual plans, administrative plans and admission & continued occupancy plans. The 45-day public comment period ended on Sept. 13 and staff received ten comments total; seven from Fresno Housing staff and three from residents.

  • The commissioners were updated on real estate activities, including progress on a partnership with the City of Fresno and Fresno City College to provide housing for at-risk students at Valley Motel and a project that will provide a path to home ownership for 25-35 low income residents in Southwest Fresno. 

  • Also approved a resolution pursuant to AB 361, which will allow the agency to continue meeting virtually if a State of Emergency and other conditions have been met. 

The meeting (in full)

The Scene

The Fresno Housing Authority joint meeting of the boards of commissioners took place on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. The joint board meeting packet states that due to executive order N-25-20, the meeting will be held in-person for commissioners only and accessible via teleconference and Zoom for all members of the public. Meeting recordings are not easily available online. The meeting followed a board workshop on real estate development. 

The Fresno Housing Authority is governed by 14 commissioners, seven of whom are appointed as city commissioners and seven as county commissioners. Five of the city commissioners are appointed by the Mayor of the City of Fresno to serve four-year, staggered terms. Two are appointed to two-year terms from among residents receiving housing assistance from Fresno Housing. Similarly, five of the county commissioners are appointed by the Board of Supervisors, and two are residents receiving assistance from Fresno Housing.

City Commissioners:

Adrian Jones, Chairperson (also Marriage and Family Therapist at North Star Wellness Group)

Caine Christensen, Vice Chair (also Director of Student Support Services for Fresno Unified)

Sabrina Kelley, Commissioner (Vice President of External Relations for Community Vision)

Stacy Vaillancourt, Commissioner (also Chief Administrative Officer for Saint Agnes Medical Center)

Sharon Williams, Commissioner (also retired Fresno Juvenile Hall counselor)

Ruby Yanez, Commissioner

Vacant, Commissioner (open due to the resignation of Terra Brusseau prior to the July 9 meeting)

County Commissioners:

Cary Catalano, Chairperson (also owner of Catalano Fenske & Associates)

Nikki Henry, Vice Chair (also CIO for Fresno Unified School District)

Joey Fuentes, Commissioner (also trainer and mentor at Fresno’s Main Event boxing)

Valori Gallaher, Commissioner (also Caruthers School Boardmember)

Edugiben Ortiz, Commissioner (one of two resident commissioners)

Sophia Ramos, Commissioner (also registered nurse)

Stacy Sablan, Commissioner (also owner of Sablan Legal Services)

As the commissioners joined the Zoom meeting, Tiffany Mangum, board secretary, asked commissioners to open their cameras. Commissioner Jones led the meeting. He reminded commissioners not to use the chat feature to avoid any Brown Act violations. 

The meeting was scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. They waited until 5:12 p.m. to begin because the city commissioners did not have a quorum. 

While they were waiting, Catalano congratulated Kelley on her new position as Vice President of External Relations for Community Vision.

Commissioners Christiansen and Vaillancourt were absent. Commissioners Jones, Williams, Catalano, Kelley, Henry, Gallaher, Ortiz and Ramos initially had their video on. Fuentes, Sablan and Yanez were present by phone only. 

Additionally, the following staff members were present via video: Mangum, Chief Real Estate Officer Michael Duarte, Chief Diversity Officer Marc’ Bady, Deputy Executive Director Tracewell Hanrahan, Attorney Kenneth Price, Chief Business Officer Emily De La Guerra and Interim CEO/Executive Director Angie Nguyen. 

The meeting was then open for public comments. Eric Payne, executive director of Central Valley Urban Institute, welcomed De la Guerra to the meeting after being on maternity leave and congratulated Kelley on her new position. He then thanked the board and staff for leading and participating in the CEO search. He thanked them for being responsive to a letter that was sent requesting involvement of community members, which he felt had been done. He said that he looks forward to working with the proposed finalist and thanked Nguyen for leading the organization through this transition. 

Consent items:

  • Approved minutes of the Aug. 24 and 28 meetings.

  • Approved general construction contract award for interior renovations to a new office building formerly known as the Marderosian Law Firm located at 1260 Fulton Street. 

    • Awarded to Johnston Contracting, Inc. for $673,790.

  • Approved a general construction contract award for the remodel of the Central Office building located at 1331 Fulton Street. 

    • Awarded to Durham Construction Company, Inc. for $908,700.

  • Approved contracts for trade services, including plumbing, electrical, masonry and tree trimming to supplement the ongoing and routine maintenance provided by internal maintenance staff for Fresno Housing’s 2,800 units. 

    • Initial contracts for eight different companies to provide specific services for up to $250,000 per year, but Fresno Housing will pay for specific services rendered. 

  • Approved acceptance of Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the California Tax Credit Allocation Committee for the Corazon del Valle Commons project in Huron. 

    • The federal tax credits are $19,591,930. 

Discussion items:

  • De La Guerra updated the commissioners on the 2022 federal budget and agency budget. 

    • Federal budget year begins Oct. 1 and has yet to receive approval. 

    • Catalano asked if they could highlight some of the larger investments when it is discussed in the future. 

  • Commissioner update on the sale and lease of the former Parlier office to the City of Parlier. 

    • Javier Andrade, city engineer for the City of Parlier, told the commissioners that they are planning to build Fig Tree Park on the new vacant lot. He said it is ideal due to its central location. 

      • The park will include a learning path that includes presentation boards with information about California native plants. 

      • Andrade shared a presentation with photos of all the different plants that will be incorporated into the park. He said they are trying to incorporate as many low irrigation plants as possible. 

    • Catalano asked about funding for the park for future maintenance. Andrade said they have a team of volunteers to help maintain the park in the future as well. 

  • Duarte provided a real estate development update:

    • He said they have submitted funding applications and received a tentative award of $1.4 million of HOME funds from the City of Fresno for Avalon Commons. 

    • Plaza Motel is under a purchase contract and they are discussing a potential partnership with the City of Fresno and Fresno City College to provide stable housing for students. 

    • Valley Inn repairs are mostly complete and under budget. The City and Turning Point have begun leasing rooms. 

    • Corozon del Valle received a tentative award of a disaster tax credit, which they will know tomorrow. 

    • Central Region awards moved to Oct. 2021. 

    • Southwest Fresno single family homes-approximately eight acres located near Plumas St. and Florence Ave. Tentative award from the City of Fresno for gap financing and down payment assistance for a proposed 25 to 35 unit single family development. 

    • Jones thanked Duarte and said, “my heart won’t be still,” on the possibility of home ownership. 

    • Kelley also thanked Duarte for his work and all the information he provides. 

Action items: 

  • Approved the audited city and county financial statements for the year ending 2020. 

    • Nicole Diaz of Fresno Housing introduced the item. 

      • Financial trend from $96 million in 2012 to $140 million in 2021. 

      • Diaz said pension costs play a large role in the budget. 

    • Ahamadou Bocar of Fresno Housing and Jacky Tang, senior manager of CohnReznick, were also on the Zoom. 

      • Tang said they are providing a “clean” audit opinion with no material weaknesses and no significant deficiencies reported. 

      • He said they reviewed six different programs. 

      • Tang said they had no difficulties with management or communication with the team. 

      • They did have a few adjustments that were agreed to by the management team. 

  • Approved adoption of the 2022 agency annual plans, administrative plans and admission and continued occupancy plans. 

    • Senior Policy Analyst Lyric Aguigam presented the item. 

    • The 45-day public comment period ended on Sept. 13, 2021.

    • 28 residents made appointments, but Aguigam said many of the discussions focused on landlords or units instead of the agency plans. 

    • Staff received ten comments total; seven from Fresno Housing staff and three from residents. 

    • Section 32 Home Ownership Program is also included. 

    • Ramos asked about the concerns expressed by the residents. Aguigam said they didn’t have concerns, but had questions about the home ownership program, which were answered at the meeting. 

    • Nguyen thanked Aguigam and said this is the first time she’s completed the whole process. She said doing the outreach process virtually was a learning experience and she did a Facebook Live. 

    • Kelley thanked Aguigam as well and said she “pivoted” due to Covid and still kept everything on track. 

    • Payne was the only public comment, but his audio was cutting out. 

  • Approved adoption of resolution on the agency’s public agency meetings pursuant to AB 361, which allows agencies to continue to meet virtually if conditions are met.  

    • Price presented the item. 

    • Through Dec. 31, 2023, AB 361 allows local agencies to continue to use teleconferencing notice and meeting procedures when the state or local officials have recommended social distancing measures or would present imminent risks to the health or safety of attendees. 

    • Newsom declared a State of Emergency through the end of the year so that condition is met. 

    • A real time public comment must be available. 

    • Catalano said he thinks this gives them the most flexibility. He asked Price if they decide to have an in-person meeting in the future then some members could choose to join virtually, which Price said was correct. 

    • Price said the executive committee does not have to adhere to this same resolution. 

The public portion of the meeting adjourned at 6:32 p.m. The commission then moved into a closed session to discuss real property negotiations and filling the CEO position. 

The commission reconvened for open session at 7:19 p.m and Catalano reported that Sablan had to leave the meeting. They had no actions to report back. 

Jones thanked Nguyen and all the staff members for “holding down the fort” during the CEO search, which began when Preston Prince left March 31 to take a position with the Santa Clara County Housing Authority. 

She said they had a public meeting on Aug. 28 where both candidates, Williams and Lindsay Fox, current president and CEO of the United Way of Fresno. They had private conversations and offered employment to Williams, who currently serves as the Deputy Executive Director at Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency. 

They then took the following actions: 

  • Approved consideration of employment agreement between Fresno Housing Authority and Tyrone Williams as CEO. 

    • Agreement is from Nov. 1, 2021 to Dec. 31, 2024 with a salary of $250,000, which may be adjusted during the term of the agreement. 

    • Williams will accrue 20 vacation days per year, 10.5 sick days, $15,000 in deferred compensation plan after first year of employment, automobile allowance of $575 per month 100% paid health insurance and $2,500 annually for life insurance. 

    • He may be reimbursed up to $20,000 for relocation assistance. 

    • “What a joy and a privilege it is to not only be talking to the commissioners but to those who have called in or may be viewing,” Williams said. “I am elated to have the opportunity to move from Sacramento to Fresno.” 

    • “Fresno already has a great reputation for doing exceptionally great housing development projects and I’ve gotten a chance to learn much, much more about all the great work that’s going on there,” he said. “I see this as a real opportunity to go from great to greater, that’s my goal and we’ve got incredible, experienced staff there.”

    • He said he already bought an “I love Fresno” T-shirt. 

    • Jones said she and Catalano were in support of the agreement and it was in line with compensation plans for former CEOs. 

    • Michaelynn Lewis made a public comment to congratulate Williams and told him if he needs any help to give her a call. 

    • Payne congratulated Williams and said he was looking forward to working with him to increase affordable housing stock in Fresno. 

    • Catalano welcomed Williams to Fresno and Fresno Housing. He also thanked his colleagues for their resilience and stewardship. 

    • Yanez said that she couldn’t hear when they introduced Williams. 

    • Kelley said this was a seminal moment for the board and thanked her colleagues for their dedication to the process. “Your breadth of experience is exactly what we need to move forward,” Kelley said. 

      • “For the sake of the beloved community, how might we work together to eliminate poverty housing, create walkable safe neighborhoods and facilitate and operationalize justice, equity and inclusion for all Fresno residents,” Kelley said. “This moment is seminal, it is a time capsule moment and I couldn’t be more excited and I think this is a pivot and a shift for the City of Fresno that I’ll be proud of.” 

    • Catalano said there will be a party when he gets there. 

Nguyen then updated the commissioners:

  • She said she had additional good news about the resident empowerment workshop that took place the week prior. 

  • Nguyen said the board retreat was going to take place on Oct. 15, but will be postponed until the spring to give Williams time to participate. 

  • She said the NAHRO nominations are open and the NAHRO national conference is taking place virtually and happening Oct. 8. 

  • They did activities with residents and on social media for mental health awareness month. 

  • Nguyen said the statewide eviction moratorium does end, but the City of Fresno’s moratorium will remain in effect. 

  • She recognized several new hires and promotions. 

The meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m. and it was noted that some commissioners and staff members needed to stay online for the Silvercrest meeting. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Oct. 26.

If you believe anything in these notes is inaccurate, please email us at Documenters-admin@thefresnoland.com with “Correction Request” in the subject line.

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