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Malcomb to retire after 16 years at housing authority helm

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By Kristin Beck

After 16 years of service to the community, Housing Authority of Carrollton Executive Director Harold Malcomb is retiring to spend more time with his family and his farm in Owen County.

The position will begin being advertised this week, and Malcomb will tentatively remain until November to train his replacement, according to chairman for the board of commissioners Cecil VanDiver.

VanDiver said information packets are available for those interested in the position. The deadline to receive applications is Aug. 25. Once they have been received, commissioners and Malcomb, as an advisor, will select those they would like to interview.

The executive director has many various responsibilities, including being 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, VanDiver said.

“It’s a position that requires a people person, someone who is able to work with the tenants and housing authority and commissioners in a tactful and fair manner,” he said. “… Mr. Malcomb has been a real asset to the housing authority. His background, having his own farming business in addition to having a good deal of experience in the military, … that has been a big help.”

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

The program employs six full-time employees, two administrative and four maintenance personnel, he said. It also has one participant from the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which is operated through the Northern Kentucky Community Action Commission. The employee works with the maintenance staff in a training role, which will help make him more employable. Malcomb said they have later hired some participants as full-time workers in the past.

During his time with the housing authority, Congress changed the modernization assistance program from the Comprehensive Improvement Assistance Program to the Capital Fund Program. Malcomb said this was beneficial to the local housing authority because the new program guaranteed everyone would receive some funding. In the past, all of the programs competed for money, and he said it was hard to create a budget without knowing whether or not funding would come through. With the Capital Fund Program, assistance is based on a formula, including factors such as the age of the buildings and need.

Carrollton usually receives about $275,000 to $300,000, in addition to its regular operating money, Malcomb said. The housing authority receives its day-to-day operating money from two sources, tenant rents and an operating subsidy from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Malcomb said many improvements were made to the units during his time, including installing double-glazed windows, replacing doors and adding overhead insulation.

“We have either finished or had underway 16 modernization programs in 16 years,” he said.

In the past year, the housing authority also received a little less than $400,000 in stimulus money, which was used to replace the worn out, noisy furnaces in the units, he said. Some were 50 percent or less efficient and were replaced with 93 percent efficient ones, and central air conditioning was also added. He said the window units posed an inspection problem because it hindered a person’s ability to escape in case of an emergency.

Malcomb said having the housing authority in Carrollton is a good thing because not only does it provide low-income housing to residents, but it also creates jobs and helps other local businesses just by being in existence.

Several years ago, Carrollton was selected as the top outstanding mid-size housing authority in the Commonwealth, an achievement he was pleased to receive for the community.

Malcomb said when he first took the position, people asked him how long he would stay. He told them five to 10 years. Sixteen years later and at 74 years old, Malcomb said, “I feel like now is probably time.”

Malcomb, who lives on a farm outside of Wheatly in Owen County about 200 feet away from his birthplace, said he will not go back to farming full-time, but he still has a long list of things to do.

“I won’t be bored at all,” he said.

High on his list are spending more time with his two grandchildren and traveling with his wife. He also likes to work on antique tractors and would like to be more involved at his church.

“I just need to be at home more,” he said.

VanDiver said he never heard a negative comment from housing residents about Malcomb in his entire time on the job, and he is sorry to see him go.

“The board of commissioners have been very positive in their assessment of his ability and performance over the years. It will be tough to fill his position,” he said.

Malcomb said he will miss working with his fellow employees and the residents. He said he made many friends in Carrollton and Carroll County, many of whom he would never have met if he had not been working for the housing authority.

“I’ve been very fortunate to have been here,” he said. “It’s been a good place to spend these past working years.”