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Shannon to Leave Housing Authority

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Charlotte Housing Authority CEO Harrison Shannon is leaving his job after a rough and tumble year in which the nationally acclaimed public housing leader faced tough criticism in his home city. Shannon, who led the authority for more than a decade, told authority staff and board members Monday that he plans to pursue consulting after he leaves his post at the end of March.

For the record, board members interviewed by Creative Loafing say Shannon was not pushed out, and made the choice to leave on his own. But rumors of Shannon's impending exit have been rampant over the last few months, leaving some to speculate that the man was being pushed out by city leaders. Although the authority receives no direct funding from the city as part of its operating budget, a new push for affordable housing and the decrepit state of the city's current public housing has become a concern.

Because the authority has been underfunded for years by HUD, it has an estimated $12 million to $25 million in renovation needs that must come from somewhere over the next few years to prevent much-needed units from becoming uninhabitable. But without trustworthy leadership, city leaders would be hard-pressed to trust the authority to properly manage that kind of dough.

The authority first ran into trouble last year after a story by CL documented the chaotic state of the authority's waiting lists for various forms of public housing. A report documenting flaws in the way the organization managed money and assets also caused major problems.

Shannon made his announcement in the midst an authority budget process in which board members are struggling to figure out how to balance their budget. The board is considering slashing jobs and cutting social programs to find the money for upkeep to public housing units. Where the money for Shannon's promised severance package will come from is unknown right now. Authority board members will make that decision.

Chief Operating Officer Charles Woodyard will take over Shannon's position until a replacement is found.

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