October 2020 Print

President's Report

Dear IAHA members:

This has definitely been a trying year for the organization as well as each of you and your Housing Authorities.  And it does not appear to really be getting any better.  But we have and will endure. 

It has been disappointing to me and I am sure many of you that we have not been able to see each other in person, whether it is was Council meetings, M & M Clinic, or our Annual Meeting.  But we have all mastered Zoom!!!!!!  I am hopeful that 2021 we can get back to a normal as it was pre-COVID.

We have been having regular Zoom meetings, whether it is about COVID and how each of us were handling it, a couple on House Bills that we are still tackling, Board and Membership meeting, some training besides the individual meetings each of us have outside IAHA.  And we have, I believe found many different ways to continue on with our work that are new and will become our norms, like online certifications, maintenance work orders, Kiosk’s for same, and going to handling much of our business online, by mail and drop off or email.  I guess sometimes it takes a catastrophe to make us look at what we are doing and how we can do better.  And our COVID meetings have been very helpful with sharing information and this is what we do well!

I truly hope all is doing well.  As most of you know, as of October 1st IAHA is in new leadership that I am confident will continue moving the organization forward.   I conducted my last meeting as President on September 22nd.  I am now the Past President.

I truly want you to know how I have appreciated the opportunity and your confidence to serve as your President.  I am honored to have been at the helm of such a fine organization!  Thank you for the opportunity and the privilege to serve as your President! 


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Calendar of Events

April 13 to 16, 2021...mark your calendars!  Maybe cross your fingers as well...As this is the date of the 2021 Maintenance & Management Clinic and I think we are all ready for an in-person event.  The clinic committee is working on the planning process and will keep members updated.

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IAHA Board of Directors

Below is the listing of the 2020-2021 IAHA Executive Board Members.

President Lindsey Morris Edward County HA

[email protected]

Past President Randy McGill Kankakee County HA

[email protected]

1st VP Jackie Newman Springfield HA

[email protected]

2nd VP Deanna Mitchell Richland County HA

[email protected]

Treasurer Ed Bochniak Carroll County HA

[email protected]

Recording Secretary Deb Alfredson Winnebago County HA

[email protected]

NICHA Council President Diane Gregoire Woodford County HA

[email protected]

CICHO Council President Chris Bruns Pike County HA

[email protected]

ECHO Council President Todd Fender Clay County HA [email protected]
Board Member Todd Harris Livingston County HA [email protected]
Board Member Peg Barkley Macoupin County HA [email protected]
Board Member Mark Sosnowski Williamson County HA [email protected]
Board Member Derek Antoine Knox County HA [email protected]   
Board Member DiAnne Witsman Livingston County HA [email protected]
Board Member Vickie Milstead Saline County HA [email protected]
Board Member Jerry Gille Quincy HA [email protected]  
Board Member Gina Hardiek Effingham County HA [email protected]
Board Member Jaclyn Vinson Vermilion HA [email protected]

Board Member

Chris Blechle Randolph County HA [email protected]
Board Member Shelly Perkins DeKalb County HA [email protected]
Board Member Rhonda Cronin Jersey County HA j[email protected]

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Shop Talk


Let’s spend some time discussing PHA training.  As with most businesses, there are office and field workers.  The scales are tipped for those who work with computers, software, administering government programs and such for available training.  Many firms want to sell their products and provide training on an on-going basis which is very valuable due to the ever-changing world of technology, and that training is sometimes built into their contract.  The annual IAHA clinic offers a good opportunity for those staff members at the COCC and Property Manager positions to attend a refresher course or obtain initial training.  Challenges, however, plague the maintenance side of training. 

So, let’s focus on in-house maintenance training.  If you walk into the personnel/hiring office at Lowe’s or Menards, you will see shelves full of how-to books and videos on just about everything required of staff.  The Personnel Director is tasked with maintaining a log of everyone’s training, and even plans and schedules the training for associates.  No one likes training because it usually involves videos or reading, but when I worked at Lowe’s, each employee was to spend 15 minutes training for each four hours worked.  No training, no paycheck.  That’s right, in the private sector, TRAINING is so important and yields so many benefits, that it is considered a “condition of employment”.   

The technology that exists today should soften the argument that there is too little or no maintenance training available.  Use the internet resources available to you to search and find some specific training, often in the form of a video. Document the make and model number of your building systems important components (boilers, water heaters, pumps…etc.)  Then contact the source for specific video or written training concerning such.  Just Google the manufacturer and reach out to them for any type of audio, video, or in-person training.   That way, you will have a GE service technician or business representative, or a prepared video presentation training your staff on your GE products.  This is better than sitting through a day or two at a remote location, then relying on your staff to bring what they have learned back to your PHA and try to apply it to the different equipment you have. 

Video training has come a long way, especially this year of social distancing.    No shortage here, including a respectful library offered by HD Supply.  Of course they want to sell you the supplies, as well, but it is still worth it.   A couple years ago we installed three new Lochinvar boilers and they have about 25 tutorials on line concerning everything you need to know about maintaining and servicing their equipment.  Very professionally done, too.  Some are 2 to 3 minutes in length, some take about 30 minutes, but they all need to be viewed.  How about this – a recent Capital Fund Program here at Warren County, which focused on bathroom renovations, yielded a folder full of 31 owner’s manuals, operations manuals, part’s manuals and cut sheets.  That is 31 subjects of training on the new faucets, shower doors, lighting and everything that went into just that project.  Plus, plan your attic stock of such items at that time, so when you need a part for them you will be ready.  Granted, some of that training will only take several minutes, some will take much longer.  But any training is beneficial, so dig out those past CFP shop drawings and construction documents for a wealth of training.    On board with the Pex and Press Pro tools yet?  There are many video trainings available that will allow your staff to do more, with a quick payback period, and save a lot of vendor costs.  Do you have new people with limited experience?  Have them train on-line for topics like light electrical, light plumbing, light carpentry, and so forth.  YouTube is chalk-full of that material, backed by many big companies and unions.   Finally, make it as comfortable as possible by projecting the training onto a big screen or wall, so they can take notes, drink coffee and discuss what they are training on. 

The challenges facing the annual IAHA clinic for maintenance personnel are somewhat daunting and have occupied the topics of many years of planning.  Despite everyone’s efforts, and I applaud all who have scheduled the training in the past, is that maintenance training can’t be as cookie-cutter as the office training.  The systems you have in your house do not match mine, so it is a waste of time for me to learn the ways of your heating, cooling systems, or whatever the subject may be.  PHA’s face the same dilemma.  That, of course, means more in-house training and I am afraid that PHA’s are not focused on this.  And, it IS a problem, because are we not tasked to judiciously spend and maintain our subsidized funding?  It should also be pointed out here that the IAHA clinic offers everyone the opportunity, maintenance and management alike, to gain knowledge just from the 3 days of association with their peers.  No dollar amount can be tied to that valuable training!!

Each PHA should task several staff with putting together a “Preventive Maintenance Checklist” for as many things as you can think of.  Don’t count on someone remembering to do something, or writing it down on a note or a calendar – it will get lost.  I have one attached as an example.  In closing, SOMEONE has to get serious and start scheduling the local, in-house training.  You are losing money by replacing things that wear out too soon because they were not properly maintained.

Thank you for reading this and please respond!  I enjoy all feedback!

Denny Schumacher

Warren County Housing Authority

(309) 734-2080 X24

[email protected]    


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Dennis Schumacher the Assistant Asminsitrator with Warren County Housing Authority has provided a Preventative Maintenace Schedule for IAHA Members.  You can find it here.


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