The Register-Star reported today that Jeffrey First, executive director of the Hudson Housing Authority, which oversees the public housing project Bliss Towers, intends to retire before the end of the month: "Bliss seeks director as First retires."
First, who also serves as property manager for Bliss Towers (the high-rise) and for the adjacent low-rise building, was the focus of criticism in the summer of 2014 for the maintenance and management of the high-rise building. In May 2014, a elevator stalled between floors, trapping nine people inside. That and other complaints from tenants led State Assemblymember Didi Barrett and Council president Don Moore to petition senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand to call on the Department of Housing and Urban Development to conduct an inspection of Bliss Towers. More recently, in September 2016, First locked horns with those wanting to establish a computer lab at Bliss Towers, declaring that it was not a priority, and in November 2016, it was reported that two tenants of the low-rise had turned their apartment into a "makeshift studio" for producing child pornography.
First's successor will be hired by the HHA Board of Commissioners, which is currently made up of Tracy Brown, Vern Cross, Barbara Hall, Kristal Heinz, Martin Martinez, Charlie Suisman, and Alan Weaver. Five of the seven members of the board are mayoral appointees; two are elected by residents of Bliss Towers.
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