Kim Townsend 2016 file photo

Kim Townsend, assistant director of the Anderson Community Development Department, has been named executive director of the Anderson Housing Authority, effective Jan. 15. She is shown in this May 2016 file photo with Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr.

ANDERSON – Kim Townsend has been named the new executive director of the Anderson Housing Authority, effective Monday.

The Anderson Housing Authority (AHA) board of directors on Wednesday voted to accept the retirement request of Charles Weatherly Jr. as executive director. His last day is Friday.

Board President Mike Dauss said Weatherly, who has worked for the Housing Authority for 24 years, is retiring because of health issues.

A final severance package with Weatherly will be negotiated by Dauss and attorney Bill McCarty.

Weatherly has been executive director for two years at a current salary of $75,000.

Weatherly said he was looking to reduce stress as a reason for his retirement.

Dauss said there were a number of applicants for the executive director position that was posted in November.

“Kim (Townsend) was the best qualified,” he said. “Her relationship and knowledge of the community was important.”

Dauss said that Townsend, in her current position with the Anderson Community Development Department, is aware of the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department programs.

“This is a really good fit,” he said. “We want to strengthen our relationships with our tenants and HUD.”

A subcommittee consisting of Dauss, Mike Ward and Kevin Sulc was named to negotiate a one-year contract with Townsend on compensation and salary.

Townsend, 49, said her main goal is to assess the status of the agency and work on the mandates from the federal government.

“I want to build a good team and move forward,” she said. “I want to continue to help the clients.”

Townsend said an assessment of all the housing units will be done to determine what maintenance needs to be completed.

“I started as a client,” she said. “I know what the needs of the clients are.”

Townsend said she has worked with AHA on several projects over the years through her job in the Community Development Department.

The Housing Authority last year resolved a civil lawsuit and another brought by the U.S. Department of Justice concerning the agency's lack of written policies. The Housing Authority agreed to pay $300,000 to resolve the two lawsuits.

The AHA is under the terms of a consent decree with the U.S. Justice Department and recently resolved a civil lawsuit filed in 2016 by the Fair Housing Center of Indiana.

In October, on the same day a lawsuit alleging discrimination and sexual harassment by employees of the Anderson Housing Authority was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, a settlement in the case was announced.

According to a press release that day, the public housing agency agreed to pay $70,000 to compensate the seven victims of the discrimination identified by the Justice Department.

The allegations in the lawsuit involved Westvale Manor and Lynwood Village, which are both operated by the AHA. Westvale Manor has 60 apartment units and Lynwood Village has 23 units.

The lawsuit stated that AHA did not have a written policy regarding sexual harassment and other forms of discrimination.

The complaint alleged that at least from 2009 to 2015 AHA regularly received disability related requests for maintenance, accommodation or modification from its tenants. The requests were made orally, in person or over the phone and in some cases were accompanied by a doctor’s note.

The AHA agreed to pay $230,000 under the agreement to resolve a federal housing lawsuit in which Westvale Manor residents alleged sexual harassment, racial discrimination and failure to maintain apartments in a safe condition.

Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 765-640-4863.

​Follow Ken de la Bastide on Twitter @KendelaBastide, or call 640-4863.

Senior Reporter covering Anderson and Madison County government, politics and auto racing for The Herald Bulletin. Has been working as a journalist in central Indiana since 1977.