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New head selected for Johnson City Housing Authority

Jennifer Sprouse • Jun 6, 2012 at 8:28 AM

After a four-month national search, the Johnson City Housing Authority has filled its open executive director position, a news release sent Tuesday from the organization said.

When Ed Zimbicki, the JCHA’s former director, retired in February, the authority’s board of commissioners went hunting for a candidate to lead the day-to-day operations, manage the eight Johnson City properties, housing voucher programs and other operations related to the organization.

The board widely advertised the position and interviewed many candidates before deciding on Kingsport native Richard McClain.

McClain, having been with the JCHA since 2009, served as interim director when Zimbicki retired and most recently held the chief operations officer position for the authority.

“After carefully reviewing a strong pool of candidates, the board focused on Richard as its top choice,” board Chairman Tommy Burleson said. “Richard’s executive management background, together with his local knowledge, makes him uniquely qualified to assume this important leadership position.”

McClain said while his new position will be very similar to what he’s been doing in the months following Zimbicki’s retirement, he does have a plan for expansion in the works.

“We’re looking to expand the number of units available to the residents here for low-income housing. That’s going to be one of the biggest things we’ll be doing going forward,” he said.

He said he is excited to get started and that so far the transition has been smooth.

“I’ve been well accepted by everyone,” McClain said. “I’m excited to be here to provide some stability and continuity, too, with employees.”

Burleson and the board are also pleased to have McClain in position to lead the organization in the right direction.

“We are excited for Richard to hit the ground running with current opportunities, while navigating the challenges we see in managing a large public organization,” he said.

The JCHA helps provide opportunities for affordable housing and socioeconomic advancement in a discrimination-free environment for eligible low income families. The organization is one of the largest public housing authorities in the state, the release said.

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