New start at Housing Authority: Annapolis' biggest landlord hires a new permanent director.

January 20, 1998

THE BIGGEST LANDLORD in Annapolis starts the new year with a new boss. Patricia Holden Croslan, 50, was recently selected from among 85 applicants to become the city Housing Authority's executive director, a job that pays more than $72,000 a year. She replaces Roger W. "Pip" Moyer, who took over as acting director after Harold S. Greene was forced out as agency head more than a year ago.

We hope that Ms. Croslan will succeed in the difficult task of managing more than 1,100 federally subsidized housing units that accommodate some 5,000 low-income Annapolitans.

Running a housing authority anywhere in the country is a thankless job. It subjects the holder to all kinds of pressures, from political infighting to tenant unrest. Many authorities are poorly run bureaucracies mired in chronic controversies that range from corruption to incompetence.

Over the past decade, the Annapolis Housing Authority has had its share of trouble.

In 1988, Arthur G. Strissel Jr., the authority's executive director, was convicted of fraud, bid-rigging and taking kickbacks.

His successor, Mr. Greene, was hailed as a hero who in his first four years managed to show considerable improvement in the agency's performance. Yet three years later, when he was forced out, Mr. Greene was portrayed as a villain who failed to correct deficiencies in a timely manner and lost support from the City Council.

Ms. Croslan knows how tough these kinds of political fights can get. She lost her previous job as head of the housing authority in New Britain, Conn., in a feud that resulted in litigation on her part.

It is likely that Ms. Croslan's every move in her new job will be closely watched. But tenant activists and members of the newly elected City Council ought to give her a chance to prove herself without trying to micromanage the running of the agency.

Thanks to the leadership of Mr. Moyer, a former Annnapolis mayor, Ms. Croslan inherits a housing operation in relatively good shape. A dismal occupancy rate has improved; many troublesome tenants involved in drugs have been removed. The Housing Authority has its problems, but at least it is not in an acute crisis.

Pub Date: 1/20/98

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