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Little Rock housing authority commissioners recommended two candidates Wednesday -- one with a focus on finance and another who is retired from work with the state government -- from a pool of six to fill two vacancies.

The Metropolitan Housing Alliance board of commissioners is meant to be made up of five Little Rock residents serving five-year terms, but two board members decided not to renew their terms and haven't attended meetings regularly since at least August.

Board members are appointed by the mayor and approved by the board of city directors.

Monique Sanders, an accounting manager at Arkansas Foodbank, and Lee Lindsey, who is retired from the Arkansas Department of Human Services, will be considered for the positions.

Board members said Wednesday that they chose the two because they bring a new array of experience to the board. Sanders' background is in finance and real estate.

"I feel like it's my mission to help people in their financial position, and housing is an important cornerstone," Sanders said when she learned she had received the recommendation.

Lindsey has managed grants before for the state agency and said he has worked on housing programs before.

"I just wanted to do the best I can to help my city grow," Lindsey said.

The four commissioners at Wednesday's meeting ranked the candidates from zero to 5, and commission Chairman Leta Anthony said the two who were recommended scored the highest.

Valerie Brown, who is leaving the board, attended the meeting to interview Milton Graham on Wednesday and voted on the recommendations, but was not in attendance at the Oct. 18 meeting when the rest of the candidates were interviewed. She read all the resumes and cover letters.

"I don't know how fair it is," she said while tallying scores. This was Brown's last meeting, and several board and staff members thanked her for her service.

Brown declined to comment on her decision, but Anthony said Brown still voted the same as the other commissioners. Anthony added that much of the decision for all commissioners rested on resumes.

Commissioners said they think the new appointees will bring a diverse perspective to the board during a time of change for the agency. Several buildings owned by the agency are scheduled to undergo renovations and a program shift.

"I think we are about to embark on some very exciting times," Anthony said.

Executive Director Rodney Forte said the recommendations are due to the city by Nov. 14, but would likely arrive sooner.

Anthony said in the meeting that the board is trying to get recommendations to the mayor before newly elected city officials take office. Election Day is Tuesday , and the new mayor and city directors will take office in January.

The other candidates were:

• Craig Wilson, director of health policy at the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement.

• Brenda Gilbert, a retired communications industry professional.

• Graham, who wrote in his cover letter that he is transitioning from being a regional director with the Human Services Department's Children and Family Services Division to another position in the same agency.

• James Green, who works in the state Department of Workforce Services.

The original agenda for Wednesday's special meeting also included a resolution to allow Forte to disburse staff bonuses, a request that the board denied during the last meeting.

When board members tried to adjust the agenda, Forte requested an executive session to discuss a personnel matter. The session lasted about 20 minutes, and no action was taken. The first step taken out of session was to remove the request from the agenda.

Metro on 11/01/2018

Print Headline: LR housing board picks 2 names for vacancies

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