Dale McCormick, who led the Maine State Housing Authority for seven years but had recently come under scrutiny for the costs of housing financed by the agency, has stepped down.
She resigned as director at the end of March.
“The Board and the Director have concluded that it is in the best interests of the housing authority and the people of Maine that they reach an agreement on an early end to the Director’s term,” said a written statement issued by MaineHousing and McCormick.
The statement also noted that “MaineHousing has a number of new board members with different policy perspectives.”
McCormick, a former Democratic state senator and treasurer, was appointed director by former Gov. John Baldacci.
She had recently been battling the board about the cost of the affordable housing developments that MaineHousing helps finance through low-income housing tax credits and other programs.
Specifically, Elm Terrace, a 35-unit historic rehab project in Portland, came under fire. Initial plans had the project with a per-unit cost of about $314,000. State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, who sits on the MaineHousing board, criticized that amount, saying the median single-family home sells for $159,000. He is now a Republican candidate seeking to replace Olympia Snowe, who is not seeking re-election to the U.S. Senate.
McCormick said she rejected the initial proposal and called for the costs to be lowered. The agency then later approved financing for the project at $265,000 per unit.
In January, she said the cost critiques were not an “apples-to-apples comparison” for a number of reasons, including costs that are unique to multifamily developments and to historic renovation projects.
“What’s been frustrating is that my previous efforts to control costs have been discounted,” she told Affordable Housing Finance.
Her resignation is seen as a step in moving the agency forward.