DANVILLE — Danville Housing Authority interim director Steve Clark said when he and DHA board members first reviewed applicants to become DHA’s new executive director, “no one really stood out and screamed to us, 'Danville.'”
But after an extended applicant submission and review period of receiving a total of about 20 applicants, Clark said Jaclyn Vinson, Danville Area Transportation Study director and City of Danville planner, stood out among the final three "strong" candidates officials interviewed.
“We like Jackie,” he said. “The thing with Jackie is she just exceeded all of our expectations in how she would fit in.”
Clark said Vinson is a “very knowledgeable lady with great enthusiasm. I think she’s a well-rounded person.”
The DHA board approved Clark to negotiate a two-year contract with Vinson. Details still are being worked on prior to a final, formal board vote.
Vinson will finish her city position prior to coming on board to work at the housing authority toward the end of the first week in May.
Clark will stay in his interim director position a little longer to go through with Vinson the recent reorganization and other changes that included 10 position eliminations. Clark will then transition into a developer partner, which his firm also was hired for. They will be conduct a property needs assessment and looking at other sites in the community to redevelop public housing.
“Part of our goal and long range is taking down Fair Oaks,” Clark said about the planned phased demolition. He said they first need to make sure public housing residents have safe and sanitary housing.
Clark added he was impressed with new director Vinson’s neighborhood and transportation planning with the city and work with budgets.
“She’s a well-spoken person with a tremendous amount of knowledge,” he said. “The housing authority needs someone at the helm to work ... hard and change the perception of the housing authority.”
He said the housing authority needs to be a community partner and not be a separate entity.
Vinson’s background includes a long range planning internship in Durham, N.C. She started working for the City of Danville in 2012 as a community development planner and became DATS director in 2013. She graduated from the University of Illinois.
Mayor Scott Eisenhauer said he looks forward to working with Vinson in a different capacity in changing the way public-assisted living is provided in Danville, in the demolition and reconstruction of public housing and strengthening the management of Section 8 housing units around the city.
“The Danville Housing Authority will be getting an extremely talented young woman who has a lot of passion to lead their future. She has served the residents of Danville very strongly in her multiple roles as a city employee, and will continue to improve our community in her new position. I will miss the enthusiasm she brought to her planning projects, and the leadership she showed in bringing some very important plans to fruition,” according to Eisenhauer.
Vinson replaces Greg Hilleary who the DHA board in November placed on administrative leave through the end of 2015. The board immediately started searching for new leadership to go in a new direction. The board hired Clark, whose firm S. E. Clark & Associates of Peoria has been providing administrative oversight at the housing authority in the interim.
In other DHA news, the new video camera system is about to go live at Fair Oaks.
“That will be a game changer,” Clark said.
He added that a shooting Monday night was right in front of one of the video cameras, but it wasn’t working yet.
“I’m anxious to get them in,” he said.
The video cameras will provide a lot of protection to the residents, he added.