Cappelletti says partnership could also help MHA
As Published in the Record Journal, Thursday December 22, 2011
By Dan Brechlin
MERIDEN — Noting the challenges faced by the Wallingford Housing Authority in the last year, the Meriden Housing Authority has reached out to offer assistance. The WHA’s longtime executive director, Steve Nere, recently accepted a buyout and Deputy Director Teresa M. Ravizza announced that she would be leaving due to the increased workload. The Wallingford agency has also had to deal with management issues, tenant complaints, partisan bickering and the turnover of four of its five commissioners.
“We want to try to get them through their crossroads of changes,” said Meriden Housing Authority Director Robert V. Cappelletti. “We asked how we can help them while they have nobody available to help them.”
Cappelletti wrote a letter to Wallingford housing officials asking whether they wanted help with the transition. He offered to work part time in the Wallingford office, if necessary. Becoming a property manager for the WHA was also an option Cappelletti floated.
Cappelletti said he did not want to consolidate the two housing authorities, but wrote in the letter that the two could partner.
“The MHA could assist in a number of ways, from combining our purchasing power, providing technical assistance with modernization planning and construction management,” he wrote. “Other efficiencies can be gained through combining certain administration or property management functions.”
Since sending the letter, dated Dec. 2, Cappelletti said he has received no response and has assumed that the board and WHA officials are moving in a different direction. Wednesday afternoon, however, WHA board member Thomas Mezzei said he had not been told about the letter. Calls to Ravizza and board Chairman Michael Misiti were not returned.
WHA tenant commissioner Patricia Hogan said she received the letter and that the WHA is “considering all options,” including the MHA’s offer. All of the information, she said, would be discussed at a future board meeting.
Over the last year, Cappelletti said, he has been following the turnover on the WHA board and other challenges, mostly through newspaper articles. He said it would make sense for the Meriden authority to help its neighbor.
“I figured we have worked a lot with Wallingford and the homelessness program,” Cappelletti said. “It makes sense to step up and help.”
MHA board Chairman Cornelius J. Ivers said the offer was something he was aware of and agreed it could help the WHA and possibly generate revenue for the MHA.
“We’re getting squeezed on the revenue side from the government,” Ivers said. “We have to generate some more revenue and could help the WHA with their mission.”
Ivers said he had discussions with Cappelletti about the possible aid. MHA tenant commissioner James White, however, said he had not been in on discussions and was concerned that a decision could be made without the board’s vote. Ivers said he was sure Cappelletti would have let the board know at its monthly meeting, which was canceled this week. “Nothing will happen without the commissioners voting on it,” Ivers said. “It may come to nothing and Wallingford could say, ‘We’re not interested in you guys.’ ” Board member Scott Griffith said the board had discussed the possibility of Cappelletti’s filling in for a few months and simply saw it as a “neighborly gesture.” Such collaboration is something that is done around the country, he said.