On Wednesday, the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (RRHA) board announced it had named Stacey Daniels-Fayson, the housing authority’s controller, as interim CEO. Daniels-Fayson will replace departing director Damon E. Duncan while the board once again conducts another exhaustive search for a permanent replacement.
In March, we commented on Duncan’s resignation after less than a year on the job and noted that the RRHA board likely would have difficulty filling his shoes. Duncan came to Richmond with an extraordinary resumé — he ran the housing authority in Elgin, Ill.; oversaw the Detroit Housing Commission’s public housing redevelopment; and had worked as a private housing consultant.
Both Duncan and his predecessor, T. K. Somanath, (who lasted three years in the position), understood that RRHA’s decrepit housing stock had outlived its expected lifespan. In March 2019, Duncan promised to move swiftly on plans to replace the rundown buildings. Unfortunately, as those efforts got underway, the housing authority began filing unlawful detainers against residents.
When news broke that 1 in 8 Creighton Court families were facing eviction, the public outcry resulted in the RRHA backtracking on its actions. It froze the evictions, and worked with residents and the city to repay tenant debt. But the notices, compounded with ongoing stories of broken heaters and other maintenance nightmares in RRHA apartments, put the authority in a bad light. We understood Duncan’s decision to leave.
We wish Daniels-Fayson the best of luck. Leading the embattled organization is not a job for the faint of heart. But she has worked for RRHA since 2007 and for the city of Richmond for 13 years, according to her LinkedIn page. She is a graduate of Virginia Union University and holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting. As controller, she oversees the federally funded agency’s budget, fiscal reporting and other accounting functions.
She knows the city and probably understands the complex financial challenges of the housing authority better than anyone. Who knows? She might have the magic touch.
— Robin Beres