September 20, 2013

New director named for Plattsburgh Housing Authority

PLATTSBURGH — Plattsburgh Housing Authority has named a new director to replace Lori Cantwell, who was removed from her duties earlier this year.

Mark Hamilton, who has served as the interim director since Cantwell was removed on May 3, has been named the new director.

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“We were going to do a national search, but Mark has been perfect for this position,” Housing Authority Board of Directors Chairwoman Shirley O’Connell told the Press-Republican.

“He has been a big morale booster, and he is constantly looking for ways to improve things here, and he is a great motivator.”

Hamilton, 35, takes the job with a salary of $85,000.

The board has been dealing with Cantwell’s situation for much of this summer and is seeking nearly $600,000 from her in legal action.

The Housing Authority filed a summons with notice in State Supreme Court against Cantwell seeking damages for “breach of fiduciary duty; recission (the right to have a contract set aside if it has been entered into mistakenly); fraud and deceit, breach of contract and unjust enrichment.”

O’Connell said she could not discuss the Cantwell case while it is still in the courts, and Cantwell did not return a call from the Press-Republican seeking comment.

Hamilton, who is the son-in-law of Housing Authority Vice Chairman Clayton Morris, was hired as the assistant director in August of 2012. He was approved by the Board of Directors for the head job permanently on Wednesday Morris abstained from the vote.

“At first, I don’t think we had any intention of hiring him, but the board has been amazed at what he has done,” O’Connell said.

“I would have felt bad if we didn’t hire him.”

The federal Housing and Urban Development program, which oversees the Housing Authority, gave the board until the end of November to hire a new director. The deadline was extended three months from the end of August.

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