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CHA Board Will Evaluate Mayor’s Choice For CEO

by Doug Pitorak

Michael R. Merchant, Chicago's Buildings Commissioner, received Mayor Rahm Emanuel's nomination to replace Charles Woodyard as CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority.

Michael R. Merchant, Chicago’s Buildings Commissioner, received Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s nomination to replace Charles Woodyard as CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority.

Charles Woodyard stepped down as CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) on Tuesday Oct. 15. A day later, Mayor Rahm Emanuel nominated a potential replacement, whom the CHA board will reportedly consider.

Emanuel picked Building Commissioner Michael R. Merchant as his choice for the role, and the CHA board will meet later in October to discuss the nomination, according to a recent AP report. Merchant has headed Chicago’s Department of Buildings since Emanuel took office in 2011. He also spent time working with the Mayor’s office during Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration, where he was the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs deputy director.

Woodyard will officially vacate the CEO position on Nov. 1, according to the Chicago Tribune. He leaves the position after accepting the role a little more than two years ago. A brief excerpt of Woodyard’s resignation letter was published in the Tribune report. The excerpt talks of chasing different opportunities that will positively affect both his personal and professional lives.

In a recent news release, Emanuel expressed confidence in Merchant’s ability to lead the CHA in its execution of the Plan of Transformation 2.0. The goal of the plan is to utilize all of the properties it has to create safe, livable public housing for families.

“Mike is the best type of public servant,” Emanuel said. “He is selfless and devoted, he is attentive to detail and ambitious in his thinking. I have been impressed with his leadership at the Department of Buildings and I look forward to working with him as CEO of the Chicago Housing Authority. I believe Mike will do wonderful things in that role and will help many of Chicago’s families on their path to economic stability.”

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