HUD Suffers from Repeated Staff Turnover

HUD, already hurt by the government shutdown, is also facing management challenges from an exodus of top talent that’s causing performance and accountability issues. The recent departures of HUD Deputy Secretary Pam Patenaude and Ginnie Mae Acting President Michael Bright are just the latest exits by key housing officials, both in and outside of HUD.

An annual report released by HUD’s Office of Inspector General in late 2018 found that HUD suffered from repeated staff turnover. In the past 10 years, HUD lost 18.5 percent of its full-time staff, more than any other cabinet-level department, even as total staff government-wide grew by 11 percent. “Constant turnover and extended vacancies in many of HUD’s most important political and career executive positions have created leadership gaps, which have led to poor management decisions and questionable execution of internal business functions,” the report states. “HUD could not fill essential positions with officials who stayed long enough to implement a vision and effect sustained positive changes.” The OIG said its report highlights the agency’s greatest vulnerabilities, exposing it to waste, fraud, mismanagement, and abuse.

The agency is already suffering from the partial government shutdown, with 95 percent of its employees furloughed. The Senate failed last year to confirm nominees for HUD assistant secretary positions to lead the Office of Public and Indian Housing, which dispenses about 35 percent of HUD’s annual appropriations, and the Office of Policy Development and Research. The assistant secretary for the Office of Community Planning and Development, who resigned in mid-November, must also be replaced.