Post and Courier

Herb Partlow, a public relations director with BDG-CPAs and vice chair of the Charleston Housing Authority Board. Provided


After reading the Jan. 4 editorial, “As one housing innovator retires, Charleston must keep innovating,” I want to provide additional information on the transition in leadership at the Charleston Housing Authority.

Don Cameron is an icon within the public housing industry. I often refer to the former president of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials as a walking institution.

He is well-respected by public housing officials throughout the United States.

Don has done an excellent job in leading this public housing authority for over more than 40 years. And he has been an innovator, but the editorial might have sown some seeds of doubt about the leadership moving forward. We have a new CEO and will have a new board chairman effective this month with the recent retirements of Mr. Cameron and 21-year commissioner Edward Kronsberg.

Art Milligan took over as CEO on Jan. 1 after serving for the past year as chief operating officer. He has more than 30 years of experience leading public housing authorities over the span of his career.

He has served as executive director for such authorities in Tampa, Winston-Salem, N.C., and Rocky Mount, N.C. He also was a professional consultant serving as the interim executive director of the New Orleans Housing Authority immediately after Hurricane Katrina.

Mr. Milligan is a very experienced and capable housing industry professional.

Another important aspect regarding his selection as the new CEO is that he and Mr. Cameron have a 25-plus-year-long relationship, and Mr. Cameron recommended Mr. Milligan for the chief operating officer job.

While serving on the board’s selection committee, I and other members had ample opportunity to fully vet Mr. Milligan, and we all concurred, including Mr. Cameron, that he was the right person for the job.

After Mr. Cameron announced his retirement, he told me that he was comfortable with this decision at this time, because he believed we had the right people in place to continue the mission of the Housing Authority.

We also filled another key position with the hiring of a new development director who will oversee our rental assistance demonstration projects that The Post and Courier has reported on numerous times.

I have served on several boards within the Charleston area, and the composition of the Charleston Housing Authority Board is outstanding. We have an intelligent and diverse group of individuals who bring a plethora of skills and experience to the table, and that is what is necessary to have an effective leadership body.

We have a commissioner with a Class 5 development license — the highest S.C. designation. We have a commissioner who is an attorney and another with specific experience in affordable housing funding and banking. We have a commissioner with a background in academia, and I bring technology, corporate and human resources experience to the table. We also have a resident commissioner who lives in one of our properties so we get that “real world” perspective.

This is an outstanding board, and we are prepared to lead. While Don is now retired, he has made himself available to us for consultation as needed. This provides us with a valuable resource and will help us to provide some continuity as we move forward.

Please rest assured that the Charleston Housing Authority is in good hands and will continue to lead and innovate as we navigate the many challenges ahead of us in fulfilling the goal of creating and providing more affordable housing for the city.

Herbert F. Partlow is interim chairman of the Charleston Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.