Mobile Housing Board Executive Director Dwayne Vaughn officially announced to commissioners Wednesday during a monthly meeting that he would be stepping down, effective Feb. 28, ending his seven-year tenure at the head of the city’s public housing authority.
Following the meeting, Vaughn said he had been thinking about resigning over the last 90 days and felt like the time was right.
“The executive director job is extremely demanding,” he said. “At some point you wonder if it’s time … for a fresh start.”
During Vaughn’s time as executive director the authority has moved forward with a major redevelopment plan and gotten permission from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to convert all of its housing to the Rental Assistance Demonstration. The move to RAD could jeopardize some current MHB employees, but would allow the board to update its aging housing stock by teaming up with private developers.
The board has seen some challenging times under Vaughn’s direction as well, and his departure comes at a time of intense scrutiny. Earlier this year, HUD’s Office of Inspector General released a scathing report challenging the entity’s relationship with its nonprofit arm, Mobile Development Enterprises, and accusing it of mismanagement of funds.
Vaughn said the OIG report had nothing to do with this resignation.
“It’s time for new opportunities for me,” he said.
Although Vaughn said he wanted to pursue new opportunities, he doesn’t yet know what those will be, specifically. He said he’s “going to take some time” first.
On Wednesday, Vaughn also sent an email message to employees announcing his resignation.
“I have been honored to serve with you over the past seven years and believe we have accomplished much and are on the verge of actually transforming our housing stock to provide better housing opportunities to low wealth families in Mobile,” he wrote. “I appreciate your support, perseverance, creativity and diligence as we sought to change the face of public and affordable housing in Mobile and to offer ‘hope’ for families.”
His announcement comes only a couple weeks after Vaughn communicated to MHB employees that Mobile Development Enterprises Vice President of Asset Management and Compliance Matthew McClammey had tendered his resignation.
In an email on Dec. 21, Vaughn wrote McClammey was set to resign Jan. 13. Multiple sources have since confirmed McClammey has rescinded his resignation. Multiple sources also confirmed that Vaughn and McClammey, who both came to Mobile from the Atlanta area, had a falling out at some point. In an email message Vaughn wrote that McClammey was still employed and “we do not make any other comments on employment matters.” Multiple sources have confirmed that McClammey is a frontrunner to replace Vaughn.
McClammey has not returned a call seeking comment.
MHB Chairwoman Kimberly Pettway said the board hasn’t considered anyone as a replacement yet. As far as McClammey, she said she wasn’t even familiar with his resume and wouldn’t consider him a frontrunner. Pettway has previously said the board would begin a search for Vaughn’s replacement, but they would not rush a decision.
Both Vaughn and MHB Chairwoman Kimberly Pettway said there were no other anticipated staff changes, other than the executive director’s departure. Pettway said she learned of Vaughn’s resignation Wednesday. Board Vice Chairman Reid Cummings said Vaughn’s resignation was not a surprise. He added that the board and Vaughn had discussions about it before his announcement.
Cummings joined the board just as the OIG report was made public in early August, and he replaced Donald Langham who had served on the board for 23 years. Langham’s abrupt departure in June allowed Mayor Sandy Stimpson to effectively have a controlling number of board appointees for the first time in his tenure, and those members have subsequently begun asking more pointed questions of Vaughn about how the authority’s finances and Mobile Development Enterprises in particular.
Pettway confirmed that the board would move forward with transformation and RAD conversion plans.
The story was updated on Friday, Jan. 6 to include more comments from MHB Chairwoman Kimberly Pettway.