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Executive Director Tom Tierney to retire in August

Eight-year tenure marked by sharp increase in low-income people served

SEATTLE—Feb. 8, 2012—Seattle Housing Authority’s Tom Tierney announced today that he will retire from his position as Executive Director in August of this year. Tierney has led the organization since March 2004.

Tom Tierney

Executive Director Tom Tierney will retire from his position in August..

During his tenure as Executive Director, Seattle Housing Authority increased the number of households served by more than 2,000, even as federal funding was curtailed.

When he began at the agency, more than 200 acres of land across the city was under redevelopment. With those redevelopments substantially complete, hundreds of new apartment homes for low-income people have been built and occupied. These redevelopments include the internationally-acclaimed High Point community, Rainier Vista, and the final phases of NewHolly.

Over this time period, 26 high-rise buildings have been rehabilitated across Seattle, extending their useful life significantly. These are buildings that serve more than 2,400 seniors and people with disabilities. Additionally, the Seattle Housing Authority has contributed to the Seattle Housing Levy, bringing operating subsidy to more than 500 apartments built by non-profit partners to serve homeless people.

John Littel, Seattle Housing Authority’s board chair, praised Tierney for his collaborative style and ability to move important initiatives forward. “The housing authority has been fortunate to have Tom at the helm over this time of challenge and opportunity. His leadership has been marked by a spirit of partnership with other agencies across the city and genuine appreciation of both the strengths and challenges of Seattle’s low-income residents. With characteristic modesty, he also acknowledges that these accomplishments are not his alone, but represent the successes of a strong leadership team and a dedicated and competent staff, which is poised to carry the agency into the future.

“In addition to all the housing authority has accomplished over the past eight years, Tom has been instrumental in moving us forward with the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace,” said Littel. “We are poised to embark on a very significant development at Yesler, having received one of only five grants awarded nationwide for HUD’s new Choice Neighborhoods program.”  The Yesler plan involves funding for other critical infrastructure in the community as well, beyond housing. The neighborhood will also benefit from significant funding and effort for educational improvements, for which the Housing Authority is partnering with Seattle University and others. 

Prior to coming to the Seattle Housing Authority, Tierney held executive positions at both the City of Seattle and the Port of Seattle. He held a number of high-level positions in City government from 1985 to 1998, including stints in key staff roles to Mayor Norm Rice across his two terms.  At the Port, Tierney served first as Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer, and later as Deputy CEO. 

“I have had the privilege of serving the Seattle community in a variety of ways,” said Tierney, and it has been an exceptionally rewarding honor. I will turn 65 in August and will leave while my health is strong and my spirit still somewhat youthful.”

Seattle Housing’s Board of Commissioners is considering next steps toward naming a successor and will announce those plans in the coming weeks.