Housing agency director is fired

Board notes differences in management style

Caldwell filled role temporarily

He oversaw completion of Bloomsbury Square


January 15, 2004|By Jason Song | Jason Song,SUN STAFF

The board of Annapolis' housing authority yesterday fired Clyde Caldwell, the acting executive director, over differences in management and communication style.

Caldwell had served as the authority's top manager since last spring, when he took over for P. Holden Croslan, whose five years was marked by improved finances but clashes with city officials and some residents. She left in what was described as a mutual parting of ways and was to receive a year's salary as severance.

Trudy McFall, the board's chairwoman, attributed yesterday's move involving Caldwell to tensions between him and board members.

Although the two tried to build a solid relationship, McFall said, "there were differences."

Reached last night, Caldwell accused McFall of meddling in authority business on a "day-to-day basis, and, in my opinion, that's wrong."

"Staff shouldn't have to take orders from two administrators" said Caldwell, who was hired as deputy director in August 2002 but never received a long-term contract as director.

Caldwell said he and McFall had a good relationship until August, when he sensed she was unhappy with his performance. He said he wanted to sit down and talk about it, but that a formal meeting was never set up. Yesterday, he said, McFall and board member Patricia Holliday delivered a one-paragraph letter of dismissal in person.

"I feel like I got stabbed in the back," said Caldwell, who was paid just under $100,000 a year.

McFall responded that Caldwell received two unfavorable oral reviews before the board's action, and that she's not a "day-to-day administrator by any stretch."

The board will begin a nationwide search for a new executive director, who is in charge of administering the authority's 1,100 public housing units. The board had planned to do this last year but put it off. McFall said she hopes to hire a new director within three months.

Larry A. Loyd, executive director of the Housing Commission of Anne Arundel County, will assist the city's housing authority in the interim, McFall said.

In his time as executive director, Caldwell oversaw the completion of the new Bloomsbury Square housing community, a 51-unit project overlooking College Creek in downtown Annapolis.

Residents were supposed to move into the complex last spring, but the move was delayed by political infighting and lawsuits. After months of negotiations by Caldwell and others, residents moved into their homes in early November.

Caldwell also helped negotiate a deal, announced this week, between the city and the housing authority to bolster police presence in the city's public housing neighborhoods.

The city and authority will each contribute $150,000 to hire 10 off-duty police officers to work on a part-time basis on housing authority property, where three of the city's five homicides occurred last year.

The authority also received a score of 87 out of 100 in a recent audit by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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