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story.lead_photo.caption FILE — Metropolitan Housing Alliance Executive Director Rodney Forte (right) listens to Kenyon Lowe, the board chairman, during a meeting of the Little Rock Housing Authority Board of Commissioners in this 2015 file photo. - Photo by Rick McFarland

The executive director of the Little Rock housing authority resigned Wednesday and said he wanted to work in housing markets in the private sector.

His resignation will be effective immediately, although he requested to stay on staff through January.

Rodney Forte said after a clean audit report, a good performance review and the closure of a $70 million deal to renovate a few public housing towers, the timing was right.

"It was just a good time for me personally and professionally to pursue other ventures," Forte said.

But the Metropolitan Housing Alliance chairwoman Leta Anthony said he resigned because the board denied bonuses for housing authority employees.

Since Oct. 19, Forte has asked twice for $266,000 to give out in employee bonuses. Both requests were denied.

Anthony said the decision to move Forte's resignation date from Jan. 31 to Wednesday at the close of business was so the housing authority could move on.

"The sooner we dealt with that matter, the sooner we can move forward," she said.

In the meantime, Marshall Nash, the director of administrative and legal services for the alliance, will serve as a special advisor to the board.

Anthony said she hopes to meet to discuss replacing Forte within the next two weeks.

Forte worked as executive director for nearly six years and made $133,000 annually.

See Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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