Michael Burkart Appointed to Housing Authority


Michael Burkart

Town Council voted unanimously at their meeting of February 5, 2024 to appoint Michael Burkart to a vacancy on the Amherst Housing Authority (AHA).  Burkart was the only person to apply for the two advertised vacancies.  Burkhart had served on the AHA from 2017-2023, and served as chair for five years. He said the deaths of several close friends over the past year prevented him from gathering the 150 signatures necessary to run for re-election in November, but now he would like to be reappointed. At the Town Council meeting he was interviewed by the councilors  and the remaining three members of the AHA, Marc Barrette, David Williams, and James Linfield. Councilor Ana Devlin Gauthier (District 5), Chair of the Governance, Organization, and Legislation Committee conducted the interview. 

Burkart said that the housing authority is governed by many state regulations, so there is a long learning curve to be an effective member.  He stated that he chaired the panel that hired current Executive Director Pamela Rogers. After she was hired, it was discovered that the AHA was out of compliance with several regulations, so Rogers’ first year was spent just catching up. He now feels the agency is in a stable place.

The housing authority assists people with limited means to get the services they need. It is also  responsible for maintaining the aging infrastructure of the AHA owned units, especially the HVAC systems. The maintenance problem has been eased by combining the maintenance staff of the Amherst, Hadley, and Belchertown housing authorities, so there are more maintenance workers to respond to needs of AHA buildings. 

In addition to his experience in Amherst, Burkart’s statement of interest  noted, “I bring to the role of Commissioner 40 years of experience as an organization development consultant. I have a doctorate from BU in this field. I also consulted to the Louisville Housing Authority for over ten years as an organization development consultant. I have literally hundreds of hours facilitating a wide range of meetings for boards of directors, community groups and work teams at all levels of organizations in corporations, as well as governmental and nonprofit agencies.” He also said he has the skills to help provide financial oversight for the agency.

As for the future, Burkart said he would like to help educate the public about the role of  the AHA.

During public comment, Jennifer Shiao of South Amherst spoke in support of Burkart’s candidacy, saying that he “looks at all things through an equity lens.”

The appointment passed unanimously, with the council voting 12-0 in favor (Hala Lord, District 3 was absent) and AHA members voting 3-0 in favor.

Council President Lynn Griesemer (District 2) noted that there is still a vacancy on the Housing Authority, and the council will continue to advertise for someone to fill it. 

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