Get busy or get out of the way
1/26/2018, 1:54 p.m.
The Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority has taken a giant step toward accountability this week with the resignation Sunday of its chief executive, T.K. Somanath.
Mr. Somanath came under blistering — and deserved — criticism for his failure to address serious and known heating issues in the Creighton Court public housing community months before winter’s cold set in. Residents were left almost defenseless against the elements with space heaters and kitchen ovens as their main sources of heat during frigid temperatures.
We applaud Mr. Somanath for stepping down. Now the RRHA Board of Commissioners, the Richmond City Council and interim CEO Orlando Artze must step up and ensure that the more than 10,000 residents relying on the city’s public housing have the safe and decent living quarters outlined under the law.
We understand that the problems did not develop overnight, and therefore, neither will the solutions. However, that is no reason or excuse for inaction, indifference or outright disdain for the people the entire RRHA staff has been hired to serve.
If there are others on the RRHA board or staff — anywhere from the top to the bottom — who aren’t dedicated to providing effective, quality service to residents, then let them step aside like Mr. Somanath, and make room for those who are truly concerned and committed to the well-being and uplift of those in RRHA communities.
It’s up to City Council, which appoints the RRHA Board of Commissioners, to make sure this debacle doesn’t happen again.
Now, let’s get busy with the work that needs to be done.