Two officials quit jobs at state housing agency

June 08, 1994|By John W. Frece | John W. Frece,Sun Staff Writer

Two women credited with turning Maryland into a national leader in the financing of housing for low-income people have unexpectedly announced plans to leave their jobs with the Department of Housing and Community Development.

Trudy P. McFall, director of the Community Development Administration and a state housing official for more than a dozen years, and her deputy, Nancy S. Rase, who has worked for the state for nearly 15 years, both turned in their resignations recently, the department announced yesterday.

Housing advocates, lawmakers and others who have worked with the two through the years said they would be difficult to replace and expressed concern that the pace of financing low-income housing will slow without them.

"I'm absolutely mortified," said Ruth Crystal of the Maryland Low Income Housing Coalition. "In the last half of an administration, it is always scary getting the work done . . . . But Trudy's departure and Nancy's imminent departure makes me real scared about the work we need to get done in the next six months."

David Falk, a senior fellow in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland College Park and a former aide to Gov. William Donald Schaefer, was named to take Ms. McFall's place. Mr. Schaefer's term expires in January, after which Mr. Falk is expected to return to the university, said Housing Secretary Jacqueline H. Rogers.

Ms. McFall could not be reached yesterday for comment. Her associates said she left to spend more time with her father, who is seriously ill, and because of nagging differences with Ms. Rogers.

"The department is full of wonderfully effective and powerful personalities, and I don't see eye-to-eye on some things with all my managers," Ms. Rogers said.

Ms. Rase said she resigned, effective Aug. 5, after Ms. Rogers denied her request to be promoted to Ms. McFall's job. The secretary said she offered the job on an "acting" basis with the possibility of being made the permanent director, but that Ms. Rase was not interested.

The Community Development Administration is the financing arm of a state program to increase the supply of housing for low-income families, the elderly and the handicapped. It manages a portfolio of loans exceeding $1 billion.

J. Joseph Clarke of Baltimore, chairman of the state's Housing Policy Commission, said Ms. McFall built her department "into one of the most sophisticated state housing finance agencies in America."

"Last year, Maryland CDA walked off with all the top awards given to state housing finance agencies by their peer groups," he said.

He called Ms. Rase "the best utility infielder in the entire operation" and said that together, she and Ms. McFall kept housing programs afloat in Maryland after severe federal cutbacks during the Reagan and Bush administrations.

Mr. Falk was an executive policy adviser to Mr. Schaefer who, among other tasks, worked on the governor's unsuccessful plan for a residential high school specializing in science and mathematics.

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