Pictured: Pam Hennarty/
Pam Hennarty announced her resignation as Executive Director of Mammoth Lakes Housing, Inc, at MLH’s Board of Directors meeting held on March 11.
She was officially hired as Inyo County’s Deputy CAO (County Administrator) at the Inyo County Board of Supervisors meeting this past Tuesday.
As described by Hennarty, a Bishop resident, the move seemed almost fated.
“I was visiting the County to ask about housing programs when I noticed they were advertising the position [Deputy CAO].”
Given that the job would be based in Bishop, eliminate her commute, and pose new challenges, Hennarty ultimately decided the opportunity was too good to pass up.
The compensation appears to be a wash. While she will make less in salary, the benefits that go along with the County position are better.
So what does this mean for the future of Mammoth Lakes Housing?
“The Town needs housing,” asserted Hennarty, who holds a Masters in Business Administration from Cal-Poly San Luis Obispo. “MLH has programs and units that need to continue to function, and the program will evolve and adapt as the economy continues to improve.”
As Hennarty departs, Jennifer Halferty, her longtime second-in-command, remains the only MLH staffer. MLH will be advertising a new associate position shortly.
Does Hennarty see MLH standing as an independent organization, or does she envision MLH getting absorbed by Mammoth’s Town government?
“Being an independent makes the most sense,” she replied. “There are more funding opportunities for private non-profits than for public jurisdictions.”
“I think the Town has cut [housing dollars] as far as it’s gonna cut. They made a political commitment to housing, even if that political commitment has been broken.” Hennarty noted that the Town is now diverting some $500,000 annually, formerly dedicated to housing, for other uses.
She also said that if the Town doesn’t continue with its established housing programs, that it would be required to pay back money it has taken in grants.
Ms. Hennarty joined Mammoth Lakes Housing in 2004 as a Project Manager overseeing the construction of the non-profit’s first four workforce housing developments. In 2007, Ms. Hennarty was appointed as Executive Director, continuing to lead the organization in increasing affordable housing opportunities in the Town of Mammoth Lakes, Mono County and the City of Bishop.
In addition to building new units, MLH offers programs including Down Payment Assistance Loans, the acquisition and rehabilitation of existing housing stock, as well as the successful completion of an additional development project. “Mammoth Lakes Housing has diversified, adapted and evolved under Pam’s direction. She has been an asset to the organization. We thank her for her service and wish her the best in her future endeavors,” stated Kirk Stapp, MLH Board President.
Hennarty’s last day is scheduled for April 12.
At the scheduled April 1 MLH board meeting, changes to the board structure will be discussed. A state audit indicated that Mammoth’s Town Manager (MMMartinez) and Town Councilmember (Rick Wood) should not have seats on the board due to perceived political conflict. At the very least, the Board will need to recruit replacements for those members.
Mammoth’s Town Council approved staff’s request to file $1.1 million worth of state Community Development Block Grant applications at its March 20 meeting, all of which would be funded with federal Department of Housing and Urban Development dollars.
The three applications include $600,000 in Homeowners Assistance for first-time homebuyers and $400,000 in rehabilitation money for the Glass Mountain Apartments, which is essentially a converted hotel lacking many proper apartment amenities and according to Mammoth Lakes Housing in desperate need of repairs and upgrades. Another $100,000 in planning assistance funds would be used for economic development strategies and a plan to increase the sustainability of Mammoth Yosemite Airport.
The homeowner assistance funds would be put in a revolving loan account, and the money reused assuming it’s recaptured. None of those funds can be diverted to the General Fund, since it’s monitored and audited closely by the state. All of the funds do not need to be repaid. Only Councilmember Michael Raimondo voted against the grants, on the basis of housing. Raimondo said he’s supportive of housing, but not the way it’s been handled heretofore. He said he’s like to see more private sector involvement, as opposed to just applying for grants and funneling money into the programs.