METHUEN — Longtime housing authority director Ken Martin, whose high salary and dual positions stirred controversy two years ago, announced that he plans to retire after nearly 18 years.
Martin, 62, who served as director of public works here before taking charge of the Housing Authority, will stay on for four to six weeks, depending on how long it takes the five-member Housing Authority board of commissioners to search for and hire a successor.
“He’s been a great asset to the community,” said Arthur Broadhurst, Housing Authority commission chairman. “He did a really good job. I think people will realize that when he’s gone. He won’t be easily replaced.”
Martin did not return a voice message seeking comment Friday.
He made his announcement at the Housing Authority Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday.
Several commissioners praised Martin’s work at the authority. “He felt it’s time to move on,” said commissioner Scott Tisbert, who was appointed in 2008 by former Mayor William Manzi. “He did a great job over there. We hate to see him go.”
“He knows the ins and outs of that place like the back of his hand,” said commissioner Frank Gallo, who was newly elected in November. “It’ll be hard to replace him.”
Gallo generated some friction at the authority recently by requesting to review a number of contracts. When asked Friday whether he received the contracts he said on Friday, “I didn’t make it to last night’s meeting. Normally meetings are on Tuesday, but for some strange reason it was postponed to Thursday.”
Tisbert said “a couple new members” of the board asked for contracts and he suggested they would not understand what they would find. “A couple new members, they don’t really know what’s going on,” said Tisbert. “They’ve only been to three meetings. You’ve got to be there for a few years to know what’s going on. How can you say something when you’ve been to two meetings?”