Change at top for the HHA

The Jersey Journal

HOBOKEN - One Robert is out and another is in after an emotional Hoboken Housing Authority meeting last night.

Robert DiVincent, the HHA's interim director, walked out of the meeting as two commissioners expressed disappointment with the commission's 4-to-2 vote to replace him with veteran public housing official Robert Graham.

Minutes later, DiVincent walked back in and hugged each commissioner before walking out for good and returning to his full-time job as director of the West New York and Weehawken housing authorities.

Last month, the board of commissioners agreed to terminate its contract with DiVincent in order to appoint a full-time interim director, and last night the commissioners hired Graham, the former interim director of the Jersey City Housing Authority, on a 60-day contract.

Angel Alicea, chairman of the Hoboken Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, described Graham as a troubleshooter with a long history of cleaning up troubled authorities.

"We need someone who can be there every single day and not be overwhelmed," Alicea said. "He has a wealth of experience, over 20-some years. He will be good for our housing authority."

Graham's connection to Hudson County is manifold.

He came to Jersey City in April of 2003 after the death of longtime director Robert Rigby and served as interim director until January 2004.

Graham's resume also includes a stint as interim director of the housing authority in Bridgeport, Conn.

He took over that job shortly after the board of commissioners chose to buy out the contract of former executive director Colin Vice, who had been accused of financial mismanagement.

Vice then went on to work as an assistant to DiVincent, taking over day-to-day operations when he could not be in Hoboken. Vice, who was hired by DiVincent, left the Hoboken Housing Authority with him.

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