New housing director named

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A great rush of changes is not expected, but new things are coming to Andalusia’s Public Housing Authority.

Jean Freeney will become executive director on Nov. 30, after the retirement of Lena Boswell, and she plans to bring a different set of skills to the position.

With more than 30 years experience in the information technology and management fields, Freeney said she plans to apply the skills and knowledge she has acquired into this new position.

“I have a skill set that is portable, and I simply have to focus on learning this specific application, but how I supervise people will be the same,” Freeney said. “I’m very team-oriented. We will have team meetings where I will listen to people who have developed an expertise, and I will support them and I will listen.”

“My style will definitely be process-oriented,” she said. “So early on I will be reviewing policies and procedures.

“I don’t want to come in a great rush of wind to make a bunch of changes, and I definitely want to spend the first few months learning.”

There will be a great deal of communication with the tenants and public, Freeney said, and her first plan is to begin building rapport.

“When I was interviewed for the job and asked what I was going to do, my first goal is to establish a relationship with the tenants,” Freeney said. “I want to understand what their issues and goals are, and of course understand the board and what their priorities are.

“I’ll be looking for feedback from the tenants, as well as the public, on establishing a five-year plan,” she said. “I want to identify some goals we will be working on in the next five years.”

One of her goals is to become involved in the Bright Beginnings preschool, which is run by the housing authority, and involve some activities she finds important to youth education.

“There is also a preschool here and I definitely want to understand it, and I’m coming from an organization that is big in getting youth involved in outdoors,” Freeney said. “I may stick my nose in there a little bit and get some foresters in there to do some presentations.”

She said she also plans to get the children involved in information and technology, which she said is very important at such an early age.

Freeney is originally from Andalusia, and graduated from Andalusia High School before attending Alabama State University.

She then began a career with the Department of Interior, U.S. Geological Survey in Tennessee, and retired early to return home.

“Once I applied for this job and was accepted, I decided to retire a year early,” Freeney said. “Mainly to come home and spend more time with my family. My mother and aunts are here.

“I really like the idea of public service, I’ve always thought of myself as a public servant and this just really fits,” she said.