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Housing Authority removes director; will look for new leader

Updated February 25, 2021 - 8:19 pm

The Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority board on Thursday has placed Executive Director Chad Williams on paid administrative leave until his contract expires on June 4.

However, board members did not publicly discuss their specific reasons for removing him from his leadership role. Williams has been on administrative leave since last week, agency attorney Theodore Parker said.

Williams, who has held the role less than three years, was not present at the meeting and did not return a request for comment Thursday afternoon. His annual salary is almost $153,000, according to his contract.

After the meeting, Chairman Scott Black declined to discuss what specifically led to the board’s actions. He said finding a new leader would be an opportunity to improve services provided by the agency, which oversees Clark County’s thousands of public housing units and housing choice vouchers.

“We have some concerns and issues within our agency, from residents,” he said. “We want to just make sure that we’re doing the right thing and move forward as an organization in a positive way. … We’re going in a different direction as a board.”

Black said the board will pick an interim executive director at either their next regular meeting on March 18 or sooner if a special board meeting is called.

Williams’ deputy executive director, Theodore C. Tulle, has been on paid administrative leave since August. He is the subject of a pending human resources investigation, according to a source with firsthand knowledge of the matter. Tulle started working at the agency in January 2019.

During Thursday’s meeting, audience members criticized the board for not taking action sooner.

“You can’t sit back as commissioners and expect that you’re going to leave people to their own volition, and the agency is just going to operate on its own,” former board Chairwoman Dora LaGrande said. “Apparently, that’s what has been done.”

Williams, 48, began working for the housing authority in June 2018 under a three-year contract. He previously worked as a consultant for affordable housing projects in the Washington, D.C., region.

“You can hire anybody to fill this job,” he said at the time of his hiring. “But I don’t think you can hire anybody with my compassion and understanding.”

In February 2019, his former secretary accused him of sexual harassment.

An outside human resources firm concluded Williams and his subordinate engaged in an “ongoing, consensual, mutually flirtatious and personal relationship,” according to a copy of a summary report of the investigation obtained by the Review-Journal. But investigators found no evidence the executive director had violated the housing authority’s sexual harassment policy.

After the conclusion of the investigation, board members placed Williams on six months’ probation in August 2019. They also ordered him to attend ethics training.

The agency paid the secretary a $17,500 settlement and another $110,000 to another former secretary who accused Williams of age discrimination.

Before hiring Williams, the housing authority spent more than two years without a permanent leader.

In 2016, the board voted to end former Executive Director John Hill’s contract two years early. Before this departure, multiple female executives at the housing authority had alleged Hill had mistreated them.

In all, the agency has agreed to pay more than $500,000 total in settlements with female former employees since 2017 who said they were mistreated by current and former directors.

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

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