JACKSON SQ.—The Bromley-Heath housing development’s Tenant Management Corporation (TMC) had no existing management contract and no “heir apparent” to follow its retiring leader, sparking the Boston Housing Authority’s (BHA) surprise takeover, the Gazette has learned.
Led by Mildred Hailey for 40 years, the TMC drew national attention for its groundbreaking model of tenant-operated public housing. The TMC managed Bromley-Heath under contract with the BHA in a sometimes rocky relationship.
The BHA last month announced Hailey’s retirement and the BHA takeover, both slated for the end of March. Both moves were unexplained, and Hailey has not commented publicly. She and other TMC officials did not return Gazette phone calls and emails.
“The BHA will take over management of Bromley-Heath because, following Mildred Hailey’s retirement, there is no heir apparent to assume her position,” BHA spokesperson Vanessa Smith said in an email to the Gazette.
Smith added that the TMC “no longer has a management contract in effect” and that the previous one “expired several months ago.”
It is unclear why some of the TMC’s younger staff members, such as well-known community leader David Worrell, were not considered as possible successors to Hailey. Worrell did not respond to Gazette requests for comment. The TMC, an independent nonprofit organization, will remain as an advisory group, according to the BHA.
The BHA took over Bromley-Heath for a year in 1998 after allegations that the TMC was failing to evict residents convicted of drug-dealing, in the wake of a drug raid that saw two of Hailey’s grandsons arrested.
Tensions have increased in the past several years, with the BHA attempting another takeover after another drug raid in 2006, and after other management complaints arose in 2010.
Bromley-Heath is a large public housing development, home to hundreds of people, between Centre and Heath streets in Jackson Square. The TMC had a major role in creating the Southwest Corridor Park and the adjacent Stop & Shop and community health center developments.