Dir. Gilbert Walker to retire, what’s next for CHA


COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)– It is the end of an era for the Columbia Housing Authority. Director Gilbert Walker will retire in June after being with the authority for more than 50 years.

His retirement comes after months of controversy when two residents died in the Allen Benedict Court apartments in January because of gas leaks and a lack of carbon monoxide detectors.

Those at the Columbia Housing authority say it is a time of transitions. They say their first priority is going to be getting their board of commissioners back up to full staff so that they can start the search for a new director.

“Change is in the air right now and I think it’s the wish of a number of people that the agency gets back on track,” Cynthia Hardy said, the new spokesperson for the Columbia Housing Authority. 

On June 30th Columbia Housing Authority Director Gilbert Walker will walk away.  CHA Spokeswoman Hardy says he came to the decision on his own, and regrets that recent events will overshadow what Walker calls outstanding achievements during his tenure.

“I think he’s just most, right now, focused on helping steady the ship,” Hardy said.

Before the nation-wide search for his replacement can begin the city of Columbia will have to fill the three gaps on the Board of Commissioners. The board is the body that will hire the next director.

“Fill those positions and then present a very strong front to be able to address some of the other needs on the inside,” Hardy said.

More changes to come include adding a position that would be under the director who would strictly be in charge of quality and safety control in all the CHA housing. They also discussed needing more communication between the city and CHA.

“So as a part of the transition it’ll be up to this team of people to decide how are we going to pay for it, how are we going to be structured, when does it all go into effect. And so I imagine all of that is part of the transition between now and the 30th of June,” Hardy said.

CHA tells us that director walker is getting the basic state retirement plan, and did not ask or receive any extra incentive or package.

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