SMRHA ED finalists

Silver Jack, pictured above, is a recent affordable housing project that the San Miguel Regional Housing Authority assisted with. The authority recently named four executive director finalists and a meet and greet at the Liberty Sunday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. (File photo)

The San Miguel Regional Housing Authority (SMRHA) announced four executive director finalists this week, as the organization will host a public meet and greet at the Liberty Sunday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. in order to introduce the candidates to the community.

SMRHA board member Mike Bordogna, said, “We felt that it was important to offer the public a time to meet the candidates at the meet and greet so that they can share their thoughts with us about the candidates.”

The finalists — Matthew Bayma, Corenna Howard, Courtney McEleney and Elizabeth Tracy — have extensive experience in a variety of administrative roles and live or have lived in the Western Slope region.

Bayma currently works as an associate attorney in the law office of Peter A. Ricciardelli in Telluride, and is as a member of the San Miguel County Planning Commission. From 2009-18, he worked as an associate attorney and managed a law office in Greenwood Village.

Howard is the current CEO of Pavilion Family Medicine in Montrose. From 2013-17, she served as the COO of Coastal Enterprises Inc., which focused on building economically and environmentally healthy communities in rural Maine. Previously, she operated the law office of Corenna D. Howard in Augusta, Maine.

McEleney is currently serving as the housing coordinator of SMRHA, as well as employing her skills as a grant writer and events coordinator for the local science education nonprofit Pinhead Institute. From 2018-19 she served as the director of development for Ascendigo Autism Services and worked in other managerial roles for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

Tracy has been the library director of the Whistler Public Library in British Columbia since 2012. Prior to that, she worked at the Wilkinson Public Library in Telluride since 2004 as manager of youth services, as well as web master and administrative assistant. From 2000-04, she worked with Mountainfilm and the Rocky Mountain News.

SMRHA was created in 1997 by agreements between San Miguel County, the Town of Telluride and the Town of Mountain Village to act as the administrative branch of the government regarding affordable housing in the area. With a mission to preserve and increase housing opportunities for low-to-middle-income county residents, SMRHA orchestrates and administers a number of housing programs and services. It also ensures compliance with deed restrictions and affordable housing regulations, assists with the creation and implementation of housing policies, and offers educational programs for first time homebuyers, as well as foreclosure prevention programs. SMRHA also administers the housing lottery system, which local qualifying residents can enter in hopes of winning the opportunity to buy deed-restricted units. With affordable housing a longstanding issue facing San Miguel County residents, SMRHA has been working for over 20 years to connect community members with access to safe, quality housing. 

SMRHA board member Kim Montgomery noted additional roles that SMRHA fills, such as “assisting in identifying potential future development opportunities for more workforce housing, and assisting the jurisdictions with grant opportunities for affordable housing projects.”

The role of SMRHA executive director is therefore expansive, requiring not only the managerial experience to oversee day-to-day operations and to skillfully lead a team, but also the ability to engage in effective outreach, manage programs, act as spokesperson and collaborate with regional entities, among other responsibilities. Since roughly one-third of San Miguel County’s 8,000 residents live in some form of deed-restricted housing, the director oversees a vibrant community of thousands of individuals and must be passionate about overcoming the challenges and embracing the rewards unique to the region.

The meet and greet at the Liberty Sunday will give community members a chance to meet the finalists in person.

“We hope the community will join us to meet the four finalists for this important community position,” Interim SMRHA Executive Director Melanie Montoya Wasserman said.