On day one, Greg Russ was still smiling.
"I was just leaving a meeting discussing all of these things," Russ told NY1 outside of New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) headquarters Monday morning. "I think so far it feels good."
Around 7 a.m., Russ came to NYCHA headquarters to start his new gig as the new chair of the city's scandal-plagued housing authority.
He comes from Minneapolis, where he led the housing authority for about two years.
His task here is massive: fix an agency that is now under the purview of a federal monitor, and where tenants are left to live with mold and vermin. He is taking home a big pay check to do it: $402,628 a year.
Russ told us Monday morning that he still had not stepped foot inside a NYCHA apartment.
"I'd probably see some very rough, difficult conditions. Those are all the issues I am here to try and help figure out, Russ said. "and look to see how we can create the capacity to change that."
For his first day, he was getting to know his new staff. He plans to tour developments for the next two weeks and get to know the basic operations of the agency.
"I am beginning to sort through a series of ideas to just to try and … connect the dots," Russ said. "NYCHA has a lot of initiatives and we have to figure out how to make that they're all kind of syncing up together and doing that well, and also working with our partners at the city and in the community."
There are many more partners keeping a close eye on NYCHA now, the federal government being the biggest one. Lynne Patton, the regional administrator for the federal housing department, told us she too will meet with Russ this week.
"I know he is meeting with my public housing team on Wednesday," Patton said. "I am sure the first two days he is getting settled with his own agency."
We know Russ will make both announced and unannounced visits to developments, and he also plans to meet with residents and tenant association leaders.
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