SHA Board of Commissioners
Governor’s pick to SHA Board reappointed
Willie J. Thomas, the sole governor’s appointee to the Springfield Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, has been reappointed to a second, five-year term.
Thomas, who is executive director of the West Springfield Housing Authority and a life-long resident of Springfield, won the appointment from outgoing Governor Deval Patrick, who left office in early January.
Thomas said he is pleased with the reappointment, and excited about continuing his work on the second-largest housing authority in the state.
“My work as a commissioner is exciting, challenging and rewarding,” Thomas said.
“As a commissioner I work with my colleagues developing policies, setting goals, establishing strategies for the future direction of the agency. We also provide oversight of the housing authority operations in accordance with the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and Department of Housing Community Development.
Thomas is one of five members on the Board of Commissioners, the rest of them appointed by the mayor. All must be Springfield residents.
Thomas serves as vice chairman of the board.
He said he feels especially connected with the SHA because he lived for several years in one of the agency’s developments – Pine Renee Apartments.
“As a former resident I can identify with the importance of resident services and its contribution to upward mobility for residents and their children,” Thomas said.
SHA Board of Commissioners Chairman Raymond Warren said Thomas is nothing short of a delight to work with, and his experience is appreciated.
“He has a substantial depth of experience and knowledge of public housing,” Warren said. “He has a proven passion for the mission. He has been important to the turnaround of the Springfield Housing Authority.”
Warren added, “Willie Thomas is a thoughtful and resourceful person who treats people with respect. He is a collegial and constructive leader on our board. I know that Willie has a commitment to the honest and effective governance of the SHA. He deserves a large share of the credit for our continued success in the operations of the SHA .As the Chairman of the board, I can speak for the other members in stating that Willie Thomas enjoys the full respect and support of the board and we acknowledge his contributions of his first term and look forward to his leadership in his new term.”
SHA Executive Director William H. Abrashkin agreed.
”If one were writing a description of the ideal person to serve as a Commissioner of the Springfield Housing Authority, that person would be Commissioner Willie Thomas,” Abrashkin said.
“As a lifelong resident, he knows the city of Springfield intimately. As a former employee of the SHA, he is very knowledgeable about this agency. And as an Executive Director of a public housing authority (West Springfield) he is an expert in public housing operations and administration,” he said.
“Beyond those qualifications and experience, Commissioner Thomas brings admirable personal qualities to the position. He is very public spirited, a good listener, respectful of all, and a person of integrity and sound judgment,” Abrashkin said.
Beyond those qualifications and experience, Commissioner Thomas brings admirable personal qualities to the position,” Abrashkin noted. He is very public spirited, a good listener, respectful of all, and a person of integrity and sound judgment. Working with a man like Mr. Thomas is a privilege that people in my position do not often get, and I am grateful to Governor Patrick for appointing and reappointing him and to Mr. Thomas for his willingness to serve.”
Thomas is a former social worker who has experience in private as well as public entities. His career includes two decades at the SHA, where he held a variety of positions, including Housing Service Director. He worked 12 years as executive director of the South Hadley Housing Authority before joining the West Springfield Housing Authority four years ago.
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