Senate candidate takes aim at newly appointed Wilmington Housing Authority exec

Former board chairman questions the suitability of new leader and voting procedure to hire him.

Former WHA board chairman Herman Holloway said he will fight until WHA's new executive  director John Hill is reconsidered. (Zoe Read/WHYY)

Former WHA board chairman Herman Holloway said he will fight until WHA's new executive director John Hill is reconsidered. (Zoe Read/WHYY)

A state Senate candidate in Delaware’s 2nd District — and former Wilmington Housing Authority board chairman — has insisted he will not give up until the board reconsiders its vote to confirm a new WHA executive director.

Herman Holloway said the board made a a bad choice in hiring John Hill because of Hill’s questionable conduct as leader of the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority.

Holloway also questioned the board’s voting process.

Hill, who most recently served as executive director at the Rochester Housing Authority, was accused of misusing agency resources, failing to follow policies and gender discrimination while at the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority.

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“I plan to fight this issue, to oppose this candidate and to do everything within the boundaries of the law, calling on the community leadership, clergy, elected officials, activists, to join me in an effort to make sure we’re not going to allow a situation where we’re doing nothing more than allowing to put the fox in the chicken coup,” Holloway said.

“The allegations and charges against Mr. Hill are the kind of thing we don’t want or need at our Wilmington Housing Authority.”

Holloway said the WHA board also decided to approve Hill behind the scenes, without mentioning the decision on its public agenda. Holloway, who said the WHA board members announced a motion to approve a decision made in an executive meeting without saying what that decision was, is also questioning the legality of that vote.

He has filed a complaint with the attorney general’s office, and he’s requested that WHA board chairman Steve Martin hold a public meeting to explain why the board hired Hill.

Martin said the board’s legal counsel said its procedure regarding the executive vote was acceptable.

He said the board had a conversation with Hill about the allegations during the hiring process. Martin said the board chose to hire him based on his accomplishments leading housing authorities.

“Mr. Holloway was a former WHA commissioner and the current board would like to keep moving forward with the understanding that everyone has their own opinion when it comes to decisions,” Martin said in an email.

Holloway said he’s also urged Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki to consider another candidate.

In a statement, Purzycki said he supports the board’s decision to hire Hill.

“I have too much respect for the WHA board of commissioners to question its decisions or to tell the commissioners what to do,” said Purzycki, who appointed most of the board members.

He said of the 75 candidates for the position, all received background checks, and the finalists presented letters of recommendation.

The WHA’s previous executive director, Eugene Rudder, was fired in 2017 for allegedly lying on his resume.

Even if the attorney general’s office finds the board acted legally in its process of approving Hill, Holloway said he will continue his fight “until something is done about this individual.”

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