Housing chief gets 3-year extension


Commissioners of the Annapolis Housing Authority voted last night to extend the contract of its executive director, who has come under fire in recent weeks by residents demanding her ouster.

In a unanimous vote in a closed meeting, the Board of Commissioners added three years to Patricia Holden Croslan's contract - which would have expired in January - despite a petition by residents expressing "no confidence" in her leadership.

"The board thinks she is doing the job we hired her to do, that we have seen improvements in almost all aspects of the Housing Authority and that she can address the problems we still have," board Chairman Howard S. Pinskey said after the vote.

Croslan, 53, said she will accept the contract, which includes a 4 percent cost-of-living increase each year. Her 2001 salary is $97,020.

Croslan's strongest critic on the board, public housing resident Anita Tyler, was ill and not present for the vote. Contacted at home after the meeting, Tyler said she "didn't doubt" Croslan would get the contract extension. Asked if she would have voted to extend the contract, Tyler said: "I sure would not have."

Tyler and several other residents spoke out harshly against Croslan at a town meeting last month sponsored by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Several residents, including Tyler, complained that Croslan treated them poorly and was doing little to improve conditions in public housing units.

Last week, the NAACP released a report recommending the board delay its vote on Croslan's contract until after city elections this fall. The mayor appoints the board members, who serve in staggered five-year terms.

Robert H. Eades, a former public housing resident who has been an outspoken critic of Croslan, submitted a petition to the board before the vote that he said was signed by more than 500 residents last weekend.

Though only a few residents attended the public meeting before the vote, Eades said, "If they do the wrong thing tonight, City Hall will see all the people."

Croslan said she is not bothered by the increased criticism.

"I'll let my record speak for itself," she said.

Croslan has been credited by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with turning the Housing Authority around and saving it from bankruptcy since taking the post in January 1998. The authority received a 97 rating (out of a possible 100) from HUD in June 1999, compared with a score of 45 two years earlier that ranked it as a "troubled" agency.

At the public meeting last night, Croslan said the authority had almost $2 million in reserve funds, compared with $300,000 when she was hired.

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