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Clem to return as Carrollton Housing Authority director

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By Dave Taylor

Ray Clem will succeed Harold Malcomb as the executive director of the Carrollton Housing Authority next month.

Clem, who is currently the administrator of New Horizons Assisted Living Center in Carrollton, returns to the position he held previously from 1979 to 1984.

“Ray starts the first of November and Harold’s retirement is at the end of November so there will be an overlap for a month,” according to chairman for the board of commissioners Cecil VanDiver.

The executive director has many various responsibilities, VanDiver said. Among these are serving as the chief administrative officer for the housing authority; planning, organizing, coordinating and maintaining supervision of the units; supervising employees; ensuring policies are completed and comply with government regulations; overseeing and presenting a budget and various reports during the year; and advising the board of commissioners at least once a month.

Clem left the housing authority in 1984 to take a position with Kentucky Utilities as human resources and office supervisor at the Ghent power plant. He later served one term as Trimble County judge-executive.

Clem said that while he enjoys his current role at New Horizons, the job switch will enable him to assist more people, and persons of all age groups.

“I love what I do at New Horizons and in all honesty I wasn’t looking for other opportunities,” he said. “From my perspective the reason to move is that I have a larger group of people that I can help and assist. Every job that I’ve had has always been a job where I’ve tried to make a difference in people’s lives. I think I can make a difference in people’s lives in that capacity.”

Carrollton Housing Authority operates 180 units of public housing, ranging from efficiencies to five bedroom apartments, for low-income residents in the city. The units are located on 23 acres of land around the city in four different developments.

The responsibility has increased with the growth of the facility in the 26 years since he left, Clem said. At that time there were 112 units in two developments.

“The bureaucracy has only become more complicated,” he said. “Dealing with government is not overwhelming, but it can be exhausting at times. I know there have been a number of changes. I’m looking forward to that. I dealt with bureaucracy as county judge-executive, so bureaucracy has never threatened me. It’s just something that’s necessary and you have to work around it and through it.”

“The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is constantly changing their policies and procedures,” VanDiver said. “Ray and Harold have already been meeting to discuss those changes.”

Malcomb’s retirement at the end of November will bring to a close 16 years of service here. VanDiver explained the process whereby Malcomb’s replacement was selected.

“The federal government says what we have to do,” he said. “We advertised in the local papers, in housing authority periodicals and through a mass email. We had 38 people who responded from all over the country. The board of commissioners went through the resumes and narrowed it down to seven people to interview. We ended up interviewing six because one dropped out. We discussed the results of the interviews and selected Ray.”

Clem said he will be the visionary for the organization and manage it and control it. “My management philosophy has always been hands on,” he said. “I’m a fiscal conservative so from the standpoint of managing I view the opportunity for a resident to live there as a priviledge and not a right.”

Clem said he government and taxpayers of this country are generous enough to offer people an opportunity to move up in their economic standing.

“We will get our bang for the buck and we’ll try to do things as fiscally sound as we can to make it easier on the taxpayers,” he said. “At a time of economic duress in the country we need to be fiscally sound in both our professional and our personal lives. I’ve always been that way.”

The goal of every housing director in the country should be to eliminate public housing, Clem said. Pursuing an education and taking advantage of opportunities can provide opportunities for public housing residents to become homeowners and contributors to society.

“Hopefully, we have turnover from the standpoint that people are being successful in their careers, their lives, their jobs and they become financially independent to where they can own their own homes and control their own lives outside of having to have a government program help them,” he said. “That’s our goal.”

In his earlier tenure as executive director, Clem said he saw a number of the young people whose families lived in public housing take advantage of opportunities to attend college or receive technical training. Many have done well in the years since, he said.

“They are contributors to their community and their country and we actually have some that I remember that lived in the housing authority that are now leaders in this community—teachers and government leaders and so forth,” Clem said. “That’s my inspiration. I want to see people do well. A stop by the housing authority should be viewed as a beginning, not an end.”

Clem hopes that by having an industrial background, and with his experience in human resources that he can provide advice and assistance in career planning and job opportunities.

“My goal is to make people as independent as possible and move them up the economic ladder,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it.”