Trumbull Housing Authority
June 20, 2016
Community Room of Stern Village
Commissioners Present: Chairman, Janice Kopchik; Commissioners Susan Fatse and Suzanne Donofrio
Also Present: Executive Director Harriet Polansky
Commissioners Absent: Thelma Burr
The meeting was called to order at 4:02 pm by Chairman Kopchik. Roll call was conducted followed by the Pledge of Allegiance.
Motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to approve the minutes of May 23, 2016 as written. Seconded by Mrs. Fatse and approved unanimously.
Mrs. Kopchik noted that Mrs. Burr was in the hospital. Ms. Polansky spoke with her and she should be home today.
Ms. Polansky reported in the absence of Mrs. Burr. For the period ending May 31, 2016, Stern Village and Stern Center had an overall gain of $1,893. All vendors have been paid. The current Accounts Payable amounts to $36,825 which includes the PILOT payments accruing for the current year ending June 30, 2016. The cash position is healthy at the present time. The Village current cash position is approximately $24,751 and the Center’s cash position is $1,444. Vacancies in the Village have stabilized and the Center has a few vacancies. There have been some minor capital expenditures this period such as new landscaping equipment, materials and labor for some flooring repairs and a new refrigerator for the kitchen in the Congregate.
Executive Director’s Report
Ms. Polansky reported the current reserve balance is over $1,393.793 which is approximately $6,278 for each unit in the entire complex. The overall cash position as of May 31, 2016 shows a balance of $998,043 including the investment account. We always look at other projects to further improve the facility within the realm of affordability, need and security.
Ms. Polansky is waiting to hear back from DOH and CHFA on the revitalization and development program. First Selectman Herbst, our Senators and Representatives have written letters or contacted DOH to lend support to the project.
The roof on the Congregate has been secured for the installation of the solar panels and she is waiting on UI approvals before it can be installed.
At last week’s Tuesday Tea, Jeff, the Maintenance Manager, discussed maintenance processes, procedures and obtained residents’ input in answer to questions raised at the last Board meeting. The following was reviewed:
1. Work orders – everyone must submit a work order unless it is an emergency. They discussed what constitutes an emergency and provided emergency contacts. If there is an emergency over the weekend, you can call the Congregate.
2. Kitchen appliances, sinks and toilets. Discussed cleaning and what not to flush down the drains. Discussed issues when residents purchase items to upgrade and what to do with them.
The outcome of the meeting was extremely positive. Several residents spoke very highly of the Maintenance Staff; there were no negative comments. Jeff, Bob and Ray received several rounds of applause.
The residents liked the idea of alternating sections for mowing and snow removal. They don’t want robo calls as a reminder but when they hear the lawn mower, they will remove the furniture.
Ms. Polansky reviewed highlights in her six month recap which is available on the website. A copy is attached to these minutes for review. Among items Ms. Polansky reviewed, she noted that Daisy, the new Congregate Manager, met with Calvert Lock regarding the inner door in the Congregate as it is difficult to open. Also, Kim from TOVAH is working with the residents on a new duly elected and statutory compliant Stern Village Residents’ Association. Kim has worked with the residents on adopting new bylaws and is presently working with the residents in preparation for the election of officers to the new association. The new name was voted on by the residents.
Mrs. Kopchik stated the minutes from the Special Board Meeting on May 9, 2016 will be approved next month when there is an appropriate quorum.
Discussion/Action for Hiring a Security Guard Service for the Congregate. Mrs. Kopchik noted they have been using a company called Investigative Consultants (IC) for security. Ms. Polansky introduced Mark Schachter and Nicholas Padilla, owners of the company. Ms. Polansky noted the Congregate must have an attendant/security guard 24/7, 365 days a year. Part-time people have been hired to cover various shifts. This has been difficult for multiple reasons. However, these people are not specifically trained in security for public housing nor are many of them computer literate. This does cause problems because there are many forms that need to be completed on a computer. Another security company has been used but Congregate had problems with this company’s employees and they were expensive. She requested recommendations from various housing authorities and Investigative Consultants received excellent reviews with people noting they were professional, dependable and reliable. She noted there is an annual employee cost for 128 hours per week with 10 holidays per year. Total cost for IC would be $99,985 which saves $15,000 a year by not using part-timers. Mr. Schachter and Mr. Padilla spoke about their company’s background and operations, respectively.
Daisy Torres and Ms. Polansky developed some notes that included:
1. CPR/AED/FA training for everyone
3. Check list for procedures
4. Adding additional information for the security of the residents
5. Documents stored and generated on the computer
6. High/low risk assessment for the residents in the Congregate
7. Training on the Life Line system
8. First Aid kit was ordered
9. Fire and evacuation drill will be done quarterly
10. Exterior lighting and additional cameras will be discussed
Mrs. Kopchik moved to approve the hiring of Investigative Consultants based on their service agreements with Stern Center. Seconded by Mrs. Donofrio and approved unanimously.
Paul Littlefield read this statement – “Be it spread on the record, that the Stern Village Tenants’ Association, Inc. is seriously considering all of its options, including injunctive or other relief in United States District Court to ensure its survival as the duly organized primary tenants’ representative organization, if the THA and TOVAH do not cease and desist from pursuing their latest co-operative activity of severely undermining and interfering with the mission of the Stern Village Tenants’ Association, Inc. of serving the best interests of all tenants in Stern Village, by forming a competing association and continuing to deny the SVTA members their Constitutional right to freely meet and to hold meetings, as they see fit, without interference and intimidation by the THA and its management staff.”
Ms. Polansky spoke through the chair noting that it is her understanding from Kim at TOVAH, who is working directly with the residents, that there will be an election and every resident can be a part of the slate. Mr. Littlefield responded “as in the statement, that if you continue”. So what the Executive Director has just said is that you plan to continue your divisive approaches setting up a competitive resident group.” He advised that they have an attorney engaged to take care of this matter and they will be hearing further on this.
Judy Restieri – commented to Mr. Littlefield noting they are in the process of duly electing a committee for the Stern Village Residents’ Association and are in the process of voting. We have nominees going into the ballot box and it is absolutely legal because the one that is standing now is illegal. You cannot charge residents any fees and any resident of Stern Village is part of the association at no cost. Everyone has input into nominating, electing and getting a group that represents every resident in Stern Village. It is not a selective group. She also thanked Harriet, Neil and the people running Stern Village for making her apartment safe. They listen and prioritize what is truly necessary.
Sandy Fisher – noted that Stern Village Residents Association flyers went out to all residents and those that responded approved a new resident association to have individual voices. All meetings are publicized, everyone is invited, information is shared and everyone has a voice. Kim has properly set up a resident association. They will be productive in getting things done in the Village and all information will be available to everyone. This will benefit every resident and to continue conflict is unnecessary. The new association will be open to all and wishes there could be peace so that individuals would just go with what is right for everyone here.
Gloria – agreed with Sandy and Judy. She noted the residents need to ask nominees if they would like to be considered for a position. A thank you was extended to the Board for letting the work get done.
There being no further business, motion was made by Mrs. Kopchik to adjourn the meeting at 4:42pm. Seconded by Mrs. Fatse and approved unanimously.
These minutes are considered a draft until approved at the next meeting of the Trumbull Housing Authority.