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Three New Commisioners Join Peekskill Housing Authority Board

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. — Three newly appointed commissioners were on hand at Thursday night's Peekskill Housing Authority board meeting, but the board was unable to answer questions about the authority's executive director position.

Smith Street resident Michael Kane, a former Democratic Party chairman and 2011 county legislator candidate, was joined by Nancy O'Connor of Lincoln Terrace and Diana Buress of Hendrick Hills as new members. Acting City Manager Brian Havranek made the appointments.

The new members join board President Leyla Ditterlizzi, Pauline Gilchrist and City Councilman Don Bennett, who was absent from the meeting. Thursday's meeting was the board's first since the beginning of summer. It had been unable to meet after the resignations of Karen Watson and Joanna Dunn.

Dozens of tenants at the Thursday meeting asked about the status of Peekskill Housing Authority Executive Director Harold Phipps. The board had declined to renew his contract earlier in the year. Phipps attended Thursday's meeting in the executive director role.

Ditterlizzi told tenants that issue would be discussed in an executive session with the new board members after the public portion of the meeting. "I don't have an answer to that right now because this is a new board," she said.

Calls to the city manager Friday for an update on Phipp's status were not returned.

Thursday's meeting was the first for members of the newly formed tenant association council, led by tenant Bernadette Holliday. She asked several questions, which Ditterlizzi said could be discussed at a later meeting.

Holliday said the new association was formed because the board president and other members had refused to answer questions.

"We tried that, but you wouldn't come talk to us," Holliday said. "We tried to talk to staff, we tried to talk to the board, we want to build a bridge of communication. We want this to work."

Residents also questioned the status of Ditterlizzi, who was on the board despite complaints from many tenants. Ditterlizzi said she was a rollover appointee and would stay on the board for now.

Check back with The Peekskill Daily Voice for more coverage of Thursday's Peekskill Housing Authority board meeting on Monday.

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