Recent reports regarding changes in the management of the HUD manufactured housing program have led to some confusion within the industry, warranting an analysis and evaluation by MHARR of all available information — in light of decisions made at the Association’s March 2010 membership meeting — with the following preliminary conclusions.
While there is still no official confirmation of any program changes from HUD, all indications are that the HUD program will be incorporated within a new Office of Risk Management and Regulatory Affairs, under the authority of HUD’s non-career Chief Risk Officer, Mr. Bob Ryan. The position of Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary — formerly held by Mr. Bill Matchneer, who has now been reassigned to HUD’s Office of General Counsel — will be retained, apparently as a career position, and will be filled by the current Director of the Office of Business Development within HUD’s Office of Housing, Ms. Teresa Payne.
With these changes, the leadership and oversight of the HUD program will once again resemble the structure that existed during most of the Bush Administration, where the program, under the day-to-day management of Mr. Matchneer, fell under the authority of Mr. Gary Cunningham, a non-career Deputy Assistant Secretary under Assistant Secretary-Federal Housing Commissioner, Mr. Brian Montgomery.
While these recent changes will not place the federal program under the direct leadership of a non-career program Administrator — a “responsibility” of the Department under the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 — they do positively change the direction of the program, for which Assistant Secretary-Federal Housing Commissioner, Mr. David Stevens, deserves credit. Specifically, these changes represent a positive initial step to change the dynamics of the program, halt its free-fall deterioration, and change its direction from that of the last several years to one of full compliance with — and respect for — the reform provisions of all relevant laws. Further, the changes leave the path open to the appointment of a non-career program Administrator, as indicated by Mr. Stevens’ most recent communication with MHARR on this subject, where he noted that he would continue to consider the appointment of a non-career Administrator whenever more political appointments become available.
Although MHARR is disappointed that a non-career program Administrator is not being appointed as part of this ongoing reorganization, MHARR will continue to work and cooperate with Commissioner Stevens on this issue and has also started to explore other means to facilitate the full implementation of this specific provision of the 2000 reform law. At the same time, MHARR will undertake to work closely with the new program management. MHARR believes, however, that efforts to work with the new team at HUD will be even more effective if the industry, and particularly manufacturers, have a united position on the myriad of critical issues that have been either ignored or mishandled over the past several years and works with the new leadership to advance the program for the ultimate benefit of American consumers of non-subsidized, affordable housing. Toward this end, MHARR will now begin to take specific steps to see that industry positions on these critical matters are as unified and consistent as possible.
MHARR will continue to gather accurate information and advance these critical matters accordingly….and keep you updated as new developments unfold.
cc: Other Interested Industry Members
Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform
1331 Pennsylvania Ave N.W., Suite 508
Washington, D.C. 20004