Deputy director to head Jamestown Housing Authority
Former Jamestown Housing Authority Deputy Director Ronald J. DuPonte has assumed the role of executive director following Sirje Carl's retirement. Like his predecessor, DuPonte is finding the role challenging.
DuPonte, who holds a bachelor of arts in economics, spent over 20 years in the defense industry as a configuration manager, systems analyst, and programmer before becoming deputy director.
As deputy director, Duponte said he was responsible for managing all aspects of the front offi ce, performing tenant certifications, interviewing applicants, managing the contractors on the property, answering telephones and assisting the executive director.
Accepting the role of executive director added even more duties to DuPonte's job description list. "Needless to say my responsibilities have grown as I am now responsible for all aspects of the daily operation of the housing authority, including finding a replacement for my old position and providing training," he said. DuPonte said that he has run some ads and set a deadline for Friday, Feb. 6, and that he expects the process of hiring a new deputy director to be completed within a few weeks.
Carl referred to the significant budget challenges the housing authority faced under her tenure. DuPonte also expressed some of the same sentiments. "As Sirje Carl put it best, the major challenge continues to be balancing the ever increasing requirements with an ever shrinking budget," he said. With characteristic good-natured optimism he added, "I will strive to continue to find more efficient ways to make the dollar go further."
That may, however, be a diffi cult task at best, given the current budget cuts facing all government organizations. DuPonte shared his own concerns regarding the budget cuts, but again tried to focus on the positive. "As we are all aware, every segment of the government, both state and local, are experiencing very diffi- cult times financially, and our industry is no different. Currently, we continue to face the prospect of a continually shrinking budget, but there appears to be some glimmer of hope with the new administration with an emphasis on housing as a whole," he said.
DuPonte also said his office will continue to seek grant money, although he acknowledged that the demand in this area is much greater than the available resources. "It has been our practice to seek any available grants that we qualify for, but again, there is not a lot of money in this arena and a much greater demand," he said.
The transition from deputy director to executive director was relatively seamless given Carl's leadership style, according to DuPonte. Throughout their three and one half years working together, DuPonte said that Carl involved him in all aspects of the work. "She was an excellent mentor," he said. He then went on to say, "Overall, I feel like we made an excellent team. We worked extremely well together and I feel we made some signifi cant contributions to all our tenants in spite of the shrinking budget."
DuPonte described the best part of his job as direct involvement with tenants and applicants. "It is extremely rewarding for me, personally, to feel as though I have made a positive difference in someone's life by doing everything I can to help them," he said. He described the most diffi cult part of his job as, " . . . the fact that we have a very limited amount of housing units and the demand and need is so great."