, May 23, 2022

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Vallejo seeking to fill housing manager position 10 months after Judy Shepard-Hall placed on leave


  •   3 min reads
Vallejo seeking to fill housing manager position 10 months after Judy Shepard-Hall placed on leave
Vallejo City Hall.

VALLEJO – Nearly 10 months after Judy Shepard-Hall, the city of Vallejo’s former housing manager, was placed on leave following a disastrous presentation to the city council about the status of the city’s planned homeless navigation center, the city has begun the search for her replacement.

The city recently posted a job announcement to its website, signaling that Shepard-Hall no longer works there. Vallejo spokesperson Christina Lee didn't respond to questions from the Vallejo Sun when asked to confirm Shepard-Hall’s last day.

However, the city did confirm a week later that Dec. 16, 2021 was Shepard-Hall's last day with the city. The information was released on March 25 in response to a public records request from the Vallejo Sun.

Shepard-Hall was placed on paid administrative leave about a week after she informed the council during its May 25, 2021 meeting that the proposed navigation center wouldn’t be opening anytime soon as the project’s budget had ballooned from $4 million to $8 million.

The move came around the same time that then-City Manager Greg Nyhoff moved project management of the navigation center from the housing division to public works, according to a letter attached to the city’s 2021-22 fiscal year budget.

Nyhoff himself would disappear around the same time Shepard-Hall was placed on leave. The council went on to approve a $577,536 resignation and separation agreement between the city of Vallejo and Nyhoff. The payment was the remaining balance owed to Nyhoff under his employment agreement with the city, which was scheduled to end in January 2023.

Lee confirmed in October that Shepard-Hall was still employed with the city after her name and photo were scrubbed from the city’s website. Interim Assistant City Manager Gillian Hayes was put in charge of the housing division.

Since then, Lee has declined to comment on Shepard-Hall’s status, claiming that the city “cannot comment on personnel matters.”

Prior to being placed on leave, Shepard-Hall filed a complaint against Nyhoff with the city’s human resources department. City officials have declined to speak about Shepard-Hall's complaint and declined to release any associated investigative reports.

The city has faced increased scrutiny about services for the unsheltered. City officials revealed during a November 2021 Housing and Community Development Commission meeting that the city doesn’t have a firm schedule on when the proposed 125-bed navigation center will open to serve the city’s unsheltered residents.

There continues to be a $2.3 million funding gap which needs to be filled prior to construction. It will take 12-14 months to build the center after the funding is secured, Hayes told the commission at that meeting.

The project was dealt another blow when city hall revealed in December that human habitation isn’t allowed on the proposed site for the new navigation center.  There is a restriction on the property due to ground contamination from prior industrial uses.

Vallejo officials have yet to reveal a new location for the shelter, but the city estimates that it will cost $2.2 to $2.8 million annually to operate.

Three Solano-area hospitals – Sutter, Kaiser, and NorthBay Medical Center – have pledged a combined total of $6.2 million for the center’s operations over three years. City officials have previously touted the center as a “one stop shop” that when completed will offer beds, individual case management to connect individuals to social and medical services, job training, and assistance in securing permanent housing.

The Vallejo Sun published a report in November 2021 which found that the city’s response to the unsheltered included police evictions, empty hotel rooms, and wasted money.

According to a hiring brochure for the position, the housing manager “will manage and participate in the development and implementation of goals, objectives, policies, and priorities for programs including the Vallejo Housing Authority, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP), HOME Program, housing redevelopment, and residential loan programs.”

The person will earn between $127,545 to $155,043 in an annual salary. The announcement closes on April 8.

Editor's note: This article was updated on March 25, 2022 to include information about Judy Shepard-Hall's last day with the city of Vallejo.

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