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Andrew Lofton to head Seattle Housing Authority

Selected by Board to replace retiring Executive Director Tom Tierney

Andrew Lofton

Deputy Executive Director Andrew Lofton will move into the role of Executive Director for Seattle Housing.

March 28, 2012 — SEATTLE — In a unanimous decision, the Seattle Housing Authority Board of Commissioners has selected Deputy Executive Director Andrew Lofton to move into the role of Executive Director, replacing Tom Tierney, who will retire from that position in August.

The Housing Authority board began its search for a new Executive Director in February, and concluded it at a special board meeting on March 27 attended by all Commissioners.

Lofton has been with the Seattle Housing Authority in the role of Deputy Executive Director since 2004, where he has been responsible for finance, administration, information technology, advocacy and the Housing Choice Voucher Program. Prior to that, he held several leadership positions with the City of Seattle. Under Greg Nickels' administration, he served as Chief of Departmental Operations and was Deputy Superintendent in charge of customer service at Seattle City Light.

In his application for the position, Lofton noted that serving as the Housing Authority's executive director will provide an opportunity to live out his personal mission of, "contributing significantly to the health of the Seattle community and the welfare of its low-income residents." He noted that, "Having grown up in a low-income family, I have a keen appreciation of the challenges. It is this experience that has forged my belief that one must try to make a difference — in low-income people's lives, in the neighborhoods where we own and manage housing, and in the larger Seattle community."

Commissioner Nora Gibson headed the board's search committee, along with Kollin Min and Juan Martinez. With respect to Lofton's qualifications, she said, "Mr. Lofton has demonstrated key strengths over his 38 years of public service. He is an excellent administrator and leader, and he impressed the search committee with his knowledge of the community, his understanding of the HUD environment and his skill in meeting difficult budget challenges. This combination led us to conclude that he is the best candidate to take the agency forward."

Lofton was identified last week as the finalist for the position. At its meeting yesterday, the Commission questioned him for about 45 minutes in open session, and then discussed their decision in executive session. They then came back into open public session and passed a resolution authorizing his selection pending successful contract negotiations.

Lofton will assume his new role on September 1. The Board took early action on the selection in order to provide assurance to its partners, stakeholders, and customers over the next few months regarding the succession plan. According to Board Chair John Littel, "One very important focus of the board's work over the past six years has been planning for Yesler Terrace redevelopment. Andrew Lofton has been involved with much of this work and has been at the table for important deliberations. I am confident that he will be able to carry forward the important promises and commitments we have made to the community as we move ahead."

Lofton is well known and respected by current Housing Authority managers and staff. Current Executive Director Tom Tierney noted, "I have known Andrew Lofton as a trusted colleague for nearly 30 years, and respect him deeply. I have full confidence that he is the best choice to lead the Seattle Housing Authority into the future."

He has been responsible for developing and managing the annual budget, and has been part of major policy, development and hiring decisions in his eight year tenure. He assisted in assembling the senior leadership team currently in place, and was a key partner in crafting the agency's strategic plan.

Lofton is also active on the national housing scene. He has worked with staff of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development on issues ranging from interpretation of existing housing policy, implications of new regulations and funding levels. He has been active on national task forces negotiating with HUD, advising them on new initiatives and providing analysis of proposed policies. He has served on the board of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, an organization that represents 3,000 housing authorities nationwide.