Bromley-Heath leader to retire; BHA to take over

JACKSON SQ.—The leader and co-founder of the Bromley-Heath housing development’s groundbreaking tenant-run management corporation will retire at the end of March, and the Boston Housing Authority (BHA) will take over, according to a BHA press release. The tenant group will continue to advise the BHA, but will no longer have a management role, BHA spokesperson Lydia Agro later told the Gazette.

Mildred Hailey founded the Bromley-Heath Tenant Management Corporation (TMC) along with Anna Mae Cole 40 years ago. It became a nationwide model for tenant-controlled public housing. But it also has had various scandals and a controversial BHA takeover in the late 1990s.

“Hailey’s retirement ends a historic era in tenant management of public housing,” said BHA Administrator Bill McGonagle in a press release.

The BHA indicated that Hailey is retiring voluntarily. The BHA will “work with the community and the TMC Board to determine how best to move forward over the long term,” said the press release.

McGonagle has informed the TMC board that “once the BHA begins direct oversight of the development, the role of TMC will be identical to that of the resident task forces that operate at public housing developments throughout the city,” Agro told the Gazette in an email. That means the TMC will become an advisory group with no management contract or authority.

“The TMC and Mildred have in many instances performed admirably over the years,” McGonagle said in the press release. “However, for everything there is a season. I respect Mildred’s decision to retire. She has earned the opportunity to rest and reflect on her many accomplishments.”

The press release did not include comment from Hailey and the Gazette could not immediately reach her for comment. A call to the TMC office was answered by an answering service.

BHA staff will begin transitioning out the TMC staff starting on Feb. 21, with the takeover becoming complete on April 1, Agro said. The TMC board is slated to hold an election in April, and the BHA will provide support for that, Agro said.

Bromley-Heath, a combination of the Bromley Park and Heath housing developments, is home to hundreds of people. It sits between Centre and Heath streets in Jackson Square.

The Gazette will have more on this story in the Feb. 17 issue.

Updated version: This version includes comments from the Boston Housing Authority.

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