By JOANNE L. PAPAIANNI
The Asbury Park Housing Authority hired a new Executive Director after its Inter-local Services Agreement with the Long Branch Housing Authority came to an end last month.
For the past six years both housing authorities were run out of Long Branch after the arrest of Asbury Park’s former director, who pleaded guilty to stealing $90,000 from the APHA in January.
Thomas Sahlin, who served as Interim Executive Director, of both the Long Branch and Asbury Park authorities for seven months until June, was hired in June to be the APHA director.
Gregory Hopson, Chair of the Board of the APHA said Sahlin was hired after he resigned in early May as executive director of both authorities.
When the ISA ended, Sahlin applied for the director’s position at the APHA and was hired. Hopson said the board believes he is the best fit to lead the APHA.
Hopson said the initial plan was to end the ISA in two, three month phases, but Long Branch decided they wanted to make the break in three months.
The APHA is now in the process of hiring four supervisory positions for maintenance, finance, property management and housing.
“We interviewed about 30 people and made offers for four positions, but I don’t know yet it anyone has signed a contract,” Hopson said.
After the arrest of former director Mark W. Holmes in 2010 for theft of funds from the authority the Long Branch Housing Authority, under direction of Housing and Urban Development, took over the operations of the Asbury Park authority..
Holmes pleaded guilty in January of taking $90,000 from the APHA and was sentenced in April to a five year prison term.
“I feel it is going to work out, it’s going to take some time. I honestly think we’re going to be alright,” Hopson said. “We’re standing on our own two feet.”
Sahlin said this week he has been busy interviewing and filling supervisory positions but is confident that once all personnel is in place the authority will move forward with success.
“So far everything’s going well, considering the circumstances I couldn’t be happier. The staff has pulled together. They have a vested interest in having this be a success going forward,” he said. “The inter-local services agreement was supposed to last longer, we would have been in a much better position with staffing.”
Sahlin, who lives in Ocean Township, graduated from Monmouth University with a degree in business management with a focus on accounting. He worked in the health care industry as a consultant for hospitals and patients before being hired by the Long Branch Housing Authority as the director of finance.
He stayed there for seven years before being appointed as the executive director of the Long Branch and Asbury Park authorities.
Hopson also said the Boston Way Village project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
“The contractor hired a large crew, I’m shocked, I didn’t think they would get it done so fast,” he said.
Sahlin is also looking forward to the completion of Boston Way Village.
“I am eager to start having families move in,” he said.