Bromley-Heath manager replaced

September 26, 2014
By

JACKSON SQ.—The Boston Housing Authority (BHA) has replaced Angel Lopez with Gwen Friend as the manager of the Bromley-Heath housing development. That move has drawn criticism.

Lopez became the Bromley-Heath manager in 2012 when the BHA took over the housing development from the resident-run Tenant Management Corporation (TMC).

Katherine Guzman, who said she is a tenant coordinator at Bromley-Heath, told the Gazette in a phone interview that residents received a letter Sept. 12 that Lopez was being replaced by Friend.

“No one even knew. There was no explanation,” said Guzman.

She criticized the BHA for not giving any information prior to the move and said that Lopez had been “really good for the community.”

Lydia Agro, spokesperson for the BHA, said in an email to the Gazette that the agency “periodically” moves managers depending on “operational needs.”

“Angel Lopez did a superb job during his tenure at Bromley-Heath and the progress made during his tenure will continue under the leadership of Gwen Friend,” said Agro. “Gwen has decades of experience in the field of public housing management and a decades long relationship with the Bromley-Heath and Jamaica Plain neighborhoods.”

Friend worked for the TMC in the 1970s and lived in JP for many years, Agro said.

She said that the BHA held an open house on Sept. 17 for residents to meet the new manager and that Administrator Bill McGonagle met with the Bromley-Heath Local Tenant Organization to discuss the change.

“At that meeting, Tenant Organization members indicated they will work cooperatively with the new management team,” said Agro. “The BHA team remains committed to continuing to improve the quality of the living conditions for all the residents of Bromley-Heath.”

Thomas Ruffen, former president of the Bromley-Heath Local Tenant Organization, said in an email to the Gazette that the BHA should change its policy around changing managers.

“Bromley-Health housing development is still undergoing a healing process from the transition from the Tenant Management Corporation to Boston Housing Authority,” he said. “Bromley-Heath’s crime has been at its all-time low in the last two-and-a-half years that Mr. Lopez was property manager, and community partnerships and programs were thriving.”

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