2009-01-29 / News

Carl retires from Housing Authority

By Eileen M. Daly

Sirje Carl has retired from her position as executive director of the Jamestown Housing Authority after 11 years of service.

Carl, a 1966 graduate of the University of Oregon with a master's degree from Springfield College, described her first year on the job as "challenging."

"I was all by myself that first year. It was such a small operation then. I was responsible for practically everything that had to do with the day-to-day management of the properties," Carl said.

That included attending meetings, processing applications, paying bills and managing finances. "I even did some maintenance work," Carl said. She kept a positive attitude about it, however. "You do whatever you have to do. It was fun. I was certainly never bored."

After the first year, Carl said her staff increased and she was given both a maintenance worker and an administrative assistant to help. She faced other challenges in those early years, however, including the fact that most of her responsibilities were not computerized. "That meant learning all of the HUD programs from scratch," Carl said. Even after the programs were learned difficulties remained, she said. "There was always one program or another that was down."

The Jamestown Housing Authority oversees both Pemberton Apartments and Pemberton Place. The basic difference between the two, Carl said, concerns funding. Although, they are both funded through the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, Pemberton Apartments receives funding from federally subsidized housing for the elderly whereas Pemberton Place is funded through Section 8. "Pemberton Place is budgeted per apartment while the Pemberton Apartments operates under a yearly budget presented to HUD," Carl said.

When asked why she is retiring, Carl laughed and said, "Because I've been there for 11 years and I am getting old." She went on to say, "There are so many things that I want to do." Some of those things include gardening and taking care of the yard, visiting her sisters in Oregon, sorting through old pictures and cataloguing them in albums and visiting with her children, Carl said.

Despite the fact that she is looking forward to a new chapter in her life, there is much about being executive director of housing that she will miss, Carl said. "I will really miss the folks I worked with every day. We have some wonderful tenants, really fine, fine people. I've enjoyed almost everyone. There isn't a bad person there."

Something she won't miss is the increasingly difficult funding issue, Carl said. "With this economy, they really expect us do to more and more with less and less. For example, they cut the budget every year yet expect the housing stock to continue to remain stable or to increase." Carl said that they have managed to accomplish this thus far by relying on various grants, but she said she fears that it might not continue to be possible.

Carl praised incoming Executive Director Ronald DuPont, who has served as Carl's deputy director for more than three years. "Ron is wonderful," Carl said. "He knows the program, he knows the people, and he knows what to expect. Of course, the challenge for him will be to fill his former position."

Carl said they have not hired anyone for the deputy director position as of yet. "He'll have to go it alone for a while and then there will be the training period," Carl said, but she has every confi- dence that DuPont will do a great job taking over.

Carl is a former member of the Jamestown School Committee and served as its chairman for a number of years.

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