Hoiseth placed on leave, Finch named interim CHEDA executive director

Mike Christopherson

The Crookston Housing and Economic Development Authority Board of Directors, now comprised of Mayor Dale Stainbrook and six Crookston City Council members, held an emergency meeting at 11 a.m. Friday, publicly announced around 9:30 a.m., to place CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth on administrative leave and appoint City Administrator Amy Finch interim executive director of CHEDA.

Finch will serve in that role until a community development director is hired to run the new City-run Community Development Department. It’s part of Finch’s proposal approved 5-3 by the city council last Monday that removes most economic development functions from CHEDA but retains its housing mission. The new path forward also involves Stainbrook and the six council members – not including Tom Vedbraaten and Steve Erickson, council members who served on the previous CHEDA Board – serving on the CHEDA Board, but potentially further down the road appointing some community members to the board, which will focus mostly on housing issues. The City’s primary economic development responsibilities will be carried out by the new Community Development Department. The new plan, Finch has said, does not include enough money in the budget to pay the salaries of both a community development director and a CHEDA executive director. Finch said earlier in the week that the job description for the community development director is being formulated and the position will be advertised soon.

At Friday’s emergency meeting, Stainbrook said Finch is the logical choice to serve at the CHEDA helm, and added that she’s been communicating with CHEDA staff, Theresa Tahran and Tiffany Jones, and that things are moving in a positive direction.