Three new commissioners appointed to Trumbull Housing Authority

The last few months have been full of change at the Trumbull Housing Authority and Stern Village, and those changes continued this week as three new commissioners began serving on the Trumbull Housing Authority’s five-member board.

At Monday night’s meeting of the THA, new members Suzanne Donofrio, Susan Stauder-Fatse and Stern Village Congregate Housing resident Linda Nassrah were on the board, appointed by First Selectman Timothy Herbst.

The three new faces replace commissioners Russ Friedson, Joanna Leone and Diane Pomposello, who resigned, according to Herbst.

“Russ stepped down because he saw a potential conflict in the making that he wanted to avoid,” Herbst said. “His wife works at the Jewish Home for the Elderly, and as we look at providing more geriatric care, the Jewish Home might become one of the participants.”

Leone, he said, resigned because of career pursuits.

Herbst said he is happy to have another tenant serving on the board, as a voice of residents. The board already has one tenant commissioner, Thelma Burr, who was elected by residents, under state statute.

“After my recent town hall meeting at the village, I saw it was important to let the people of Stern Village know their input is important,” Herbst said. “Thelma lives in one of the detached units and Linda lives in the congregate, so they both bring different perspectives.”

Donofrio, Herbst said, was former member of the North Haven Board of Education before moving to Trumbull, so she understands board procedure.

Stauder-Fatse, an attorney, can provide her expertise to the board, Herbst said. Her grandparents were also once residents of Stern Village.

“It’s a really good group of people, and from what I hear they did a good job the other night,” Herbst said.

In late February, acting interim executive director Harriet Polansky started at Stern Village. Polansky has garnered tenant support since starting the job, many saying she has made several positive changes. Residents recently presented a petition to Herbst, asking that he recommend Polansky to fill the position permanently.

But the changes at Stern Village, which happened after the former leadership was criticized for its handling of Hurricane Sandy, didn’t sit well with a few residents. While Polansky’s popularity seems widespread, tensions were high at the recent THA meeting as two residents got into an argument that nearly became physical.

“Harriet Polansky has incredible support from the residents,” Herbst said. “She has made changes that have been positively received. The few critics are turning off a lot of the other residents who want to move forward.”