“Members of the RHA Board of Directors had expressed from day one their concern to be able to maintain services to their clients,” said Jim McCaskill, interim executive director.
He assumed operational control of the RHA following the suspension of Gracie Ingram as director, pending an investigation by the Rockingham Police Department.
McCaskill plans to meet with representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Thursday to talk about operations.
“I will also be able to rely on the expertise and experience of public housing directors in Hamlet and Laurinburg,” he said.
“I will be calling on HUD officials for specific guidance in working with me to make sure I touch all bases,” McCaskill said of fulfilling compliance with regulations.
McCaskill brings to the job his own experience of years directing the Rural Development Center in Rockingham for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and years of experience in the military having retired as a colonel in the N.C. Army National Guard. “It has come in handy,” he said.
In addition to apartment complexes at several locations in Rockingham, the RHA oversees Section 8 rent subsidy programs for some 40 to 50 single-family dwellings throughout Richmond County.
Since taking the interim position last week, McCaskill said a lot has been going on getting to know the “complex financial operation” at the RHA. “It is not insignificant at all,” he said.
He met Tuesday with Wayne Stogner, architect, who assists with grant funds and renovations, about combining several grants for improvements to consolidate administration of them. “That will enable us to fix more units,” he said. “Perhaps by the fall.”
Some of the more immediate needs won’t wait such as heating and air conditioning units which are failing after 10 or 20 years of operation.
McCaskill said he was pleased with the cooperation he has received from the staff and employees of the RHA.
“We want HUD to be satisfied with how we are spending its money with which we are entrusted,” he said. Rents are being collected and people have been paid for services without interruption, he said.
McCaskill is in touch with the Rockingham Police Department as information taken for investigation is returned or he requests copies of documents needed for operational purposes. He was given a complete inventory of everything police seized.
“None of that has impacted on the operation of the RHA in meeting the needs of clients,” he said.
n Contact reporter Tom MacCallum at 997-3111, ext. 15; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.