Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 02-07-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | FEBRUARY 7-13, 2019 WOONSOCKET 5 Moreau appointed Woonsocket Housing Authority executive director WOONSOCKET – After months of uncertainty and a lengthy internal investigation, the Woonsocket Housing Authority Board of Commissioners appointed Robert Moreau as the agen- cy's new executive director, confirming the appointment dur- ing a board meeting last week. Moreau has served as interim exec- utive director since last June, when former Executive Director Christine O'Connor was placed on paid leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation. According to Board of Commissioners Chairman Marc Dubois, O'Connor resigned her posi- tion effective Dec. 31. Dubois did not specify the allegations against O'Connor but said the terms of her resignation did not include pay or benefits. "There was a nondisclosure agree- ment on both sides. I can tell you that she resigned as a result of differ- ences with the Woonsocket Housing Authority," he said. Moreau, a retired Woonsocket police officer, has worked for the agency since 2009 and previously served as director of security and facilities, a title amounting to an assistant director's position. He told The Breeze he planned to meet with all agency employees earlier this week to discuss staffing and other needs and go over his vision for the agency's future. "I don't want to run this agency as one person, because I want it to be run as a team and a group effort. From the most senior person to the least senior person, I want them to have a say in the road that the Housing Authority moves forward," he said. His appointment, confirmed by a 6-1 vote, was applauded by several dozen agency employees who turned out for the brief meeting at the agency's Social Street headquarters last Thursday, Jan. 31. According to Moreau, the ongoing investiga- tion has had an impact on employee morale, as the agency has remained "on a standby" over the past several months. "It was kind of an uncertainty in the future for a little while, so I just want to bring the employees back together as a group and just give them the support," he said. Only Steven D'Agostino, a recent appointment to the Board of Commissioners, voted against the appointment. As D'Agostino stated during the meeting, he had no objec- tion to Moreau's appointment but would have preferred a two-year rather than a three-year contract. The approved three-year contract includes a $122,000 annual salary. It's not the first time the Housing Authority has undergone an abrupt change in leadership. In December of 2013, former Executive Director Robert Kulik was suspended over charges of sexual harassment, later taking a leave of absence in 2014 while the Board of Commissioners negotiated a severance package that included approximately $39,000 in payouts and a 2008 Ford Edge SUV with around 50,000 miles. The following year, Kulik's replace- ment, Patrick Morganelli, was placed on paid administrative leave and later terminated for unknown rea- sons. The agency has also faced a num- ber of personnel issues. In 2016, a housing data clerk was arrested and charged with forgery and embezzle- ment after it was discovered she had signed several rents checks over to her name. That same year, The Breeze received an anonymous letter signed "WHA Employees" alleging the agency had been "in turmoil and not properly functioning" for the previ- ous two years. Asked if he thinks Moreau will be able to improve the agency's image after the incidents of the past sev- eral years, Dubois said he expects a change for the positive. "I've already seen morale improve greatly since Bob took over," he said. "As you saw by the show of force this evening, I think every employee in By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer lauren@valleybreeze.com Former director resigns following investigation See DIRECTOR, Page 10 MOREAU GREAT VALUE QUALITY SERVICE 36 BLACKSTONE STREET WOONSOCKET 401-766-3270 WWW.TERRYAUTOLTD.COM Gil & Meika Two & Four Wheel Alignments Cars and Trucks Starting at $ 69.95 (cars) 2011 NISSAN FRONTIER 4x4 2010 FORD EDGE Automatic! 108K miles ............ $ 11,519 AWD, Loaded 90K miles ........................ $ 8,419

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