Senior Program and Policy Advisor, Tracey Rudy, works with PHAs across the country to improve performance and increase compliance.

Boards of Commissioners are the legal and financial governing body of Public Housing Agencies (PHAs). The role of the Board of Commissioners is an important, yet often misunderstood concept. Senior Program and Policy Advisor, Tracey Rudy, discusses the role of Board of Commissioners and the importance of proper training to ensure Commissioners are serving PHAs and their stakeholders effectively.

Training Helps Define Roles and Responsibilities

The commissioner’s role is governance. He or she helps establish policy and ensure management oversight. Executive Directors and Managers manage the day-to-day operations of PHAs. Commissioners and executive directors must be aware of one another’s roles without overstepping or undermining the other. Proper training facilitates a healthy relationship between Boards and executive management.

“Many believe commissioners are involved in day-to-day operations. In reality, their role is governance and oversight, not management. But, they do have quite a bit of influence on day-to-day operations because of policy oversight,” Rudy said. “Training helps commissioners develop governance, policy-making, and strategic planning skills. Effective board governance is critical to guide organizations toward strategic objectives. Board members play a pivotal role in upholding governance standards, including transparency, accountability, and ethical behavior across all levels of the PHA.”

Training Ensures Proper Use of Government Funds

Effective board governance is critical in guiding PHAs towards their strategic objectives. Board members review, approve, and monitor budgets, contracts, and other financial documents. Commissioners, especially newly appointed individuals, need guidance on PHA strategic goals and how to manage funds effectively to ensure goals are met.

“Housing authorities manage significant budgets. Professional training equips commissioners with the knowledge to oversee financial operations and ensure fiscal responsibility. Training helps commissioners identify and mitigate risks, reducing the potential for legal issues and financial losses,” Rudy said. “In addition, Commissioners should understand the needs and challenges of the communities they serve in order to make decisions that positively impact residents. Comprehensive training will address pressing needs so Commissioners are able to support the PHA’s mission.”

Not All Training is Created Equal

Board of Commissioners training is important and should be conducted by educated and experienced trainers in the affordable housing industry. Quadel provides training to Boards routinely. When considering hiring a trainer to work with your Board of Commissioners, there are certain things to look for to ensure members are receiving accurate and comprehensive information they can use throughout their tenure.

Training should cover essential topics such as governance, financial management, regulatory compliance, and community engagement. In addition, it’s important training programs are interactive and involve relevant case study examples to enhance understanding,” Rudy said. “Training programs like Quadel’s that provide ongoing support and resources like being available to answer questions as they arise or discuss regulatory changes as they occur is a valuable resource to Commissioners long after the training session ends.”

Interested in Quadel’s Board of Commissioners’ training? Request a session today. HUD also has resources here.