Greenfield Housing Authority seeks new executive director

The Greenfield Housing Authority offices at Elm Terrace on Elm Street in Greenfield.

The Greenfield Housing Authority offices at Elm Terrace on Elm Street in Greenfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

The Greenfield Housing Authority will begin the search for a permanent executive director following the departure of Thomas Guerino, pictured in 2021.

The Greenfield Housing Authority will begin the search for a permanent executive director following the departure of Thomas Guerino, pictured in 2021. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 03-03-2024 12:09 PM

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield Housing Authority will begin the search for a permanent executive director following the departure of Thomas Guerino.

Guerino, who served as the agency’s executive director for roughly three years, recently left the Greenfield Housing Authority to serve as Wellfleet’s interim town administrator, according to Butch Hawkins, who chairs the housing authority’s Board of Commissioners.

“He has a tremendous amount of background in municipal government and municipal finance, and he was town administrator of Bourne for 14 years before we snagged him,” Hawkins said of Guerino, noting that directors are hired on three-year contracts. “He gets a lot of offers and he just got an offer that we couldn’t compete with.

“He did an excellent job for us; he had a lot of the talent that we needed,” Hawkins continued, highlighting Guerino’s experience in staff and economic development. “He’ll be missed.”

In the wake of Guerino’s departure, the commissioners will decide in the coming weeks whether they want to look internally for an executive director or if they want to work with an outside agency to bring in candidates. In the meantime, they have appointed former longtime Northampton Housing Authority Director Jon Hite to serve in an interim role.

As for a timeline, Hawkins said the Board of Commissioners expects to move fairly quickly in hiring a new director, regardless of whether the commissioners go with an internal or external search.

“If we can get some proposals that are reasonable and we feel comfortable with the services they provide, I think we’ll go with an outside agency,” said Hawkins, who chaired the search committee when the authority hired Guerino. “We’d like somebody that has some background in state and federal housing. … It’s a complicated business and we run a lot of different programs and there’s a fair amount of staff.”

The Greenfield Housing Authority, which was formed in 1946, oversees 114 family housing units and 108 one-bedroom units for the elderly and people with disabilities, while also administering approximately 560 rental assistant vouchers for renters, among other services, according to its website.

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Another potential option down the road could be a partnership with the Franklin County Regional Housing & Redevelopment Authority, which Hawkins said the Board of Commissioners has decided against in the past. He said they will wait to see who their new director is before taking up the subject again.

“We did kick that around when Tom said he was leaving, then we decided against it because Jon agreed to step up to the plate,” Hawkins said of partnering with their regional counterpart. “It depends on the type of person we get as a full-time director.”

Gina Govoni, executive director of the regional housing authority, said she’d be happy to look into some sort of management agreement or future merger, as her agency was able to successfully merge with Shelburne’s last year.

“I have talked to Butch about this in the past, but maybe it wasn’t the right time then,” Govoni said. “We’re still going to move forward. … It does make sense for the community to have more clarity on how to find housing.”

Hawkins said the development aspect of the Franklin County Regional Housing & Redevelopment Authority is the one that would likely benefit the Greenfield Housing Authority the most. He added that the Greenfield agency doesn’t currently have a development officer, though the commissioners have spoken with state legislators about potentially allocating money for a position like that.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com.