Housing Authority OKs termination, names new attorney

During a special meeting of the Dunkirk Housing Authority on June 17, the six-member board of commissioners decided to terminate Rachel Braidich from the post of executive director.

According to the resolution approved unanimously by authority commissioners this week, Braidich was officially relieved of her duties on July 2. Merari Tirado was approved by the commissioners to handle the responsibilities of the executive director until commissioners fill the position that is currently being advertised.

As is typically the case with employee separations, board members did not discuss the reasons for Braidich’s removal. Braidich had been at the post since early 2018 and took over after longtime administrator Judy Presutti retired.

Commissioners also approved an interim attorney following the resignation of Peter Clark last month. By unanimous vote, the Authority approved Richard Morrisroe.

Morrisroe’s connection as city attorney was mentioned, but Donna Brisky, Authority chairwoman, stated his accepting of this position would not be a conflict of interest. “He’s very knowledgeable,” Brisky said. “He also has an assistant and a full staff to help him with any issues that come up with the Housing Authority.”

Later during the meeting, commissioners wanted it noted that the Dunkirk Housing Authority has no connection to politics or Dunkirk city government or council. However, two examples by the Authority contradicted this statement.

First, those who serve as a commissioner are first appointed by the city mayor. Second, Common Council will be voting on a recently approved labor contract between the Housing Authority and the United Steelworkers District 4. The term of the contract runs from Jan. 1, 2018 to Dec. 31, 2022.

Brisky noted Dave Campola in the Dunkirk Human Resources office — another connection to City Hall — assisted in the negotiations with no cost to the authority.

The next Housing Authority meeting will take place Aug. 1. About 13 residents from the Joseph Steger Apartments were in attendance for the meeting, which lasted under an hour.