Gene Jones will join Toronto Community Housing on June 18, 2012 as President and Chief Executive Officer. Staff sat down with Gene Jones in mid-May to ask him some questions.
Q: Tell us about your plan for your first 100 days as President and CEO?
Gene Jones: In my first 100 days, I plan to meet all directors and staff, visit all sites, meet with tenants and tenant leaders while getting a good look and feel of how Toronto Community Housing operates. I will look for the positives and make some assessments and decisions about what the company needs for its executive team and build it up. This will help us improve our credibility.
Q: What do you think are the biggest problems facing the company? How will you fix them?
Gene Jones: I think the biggest problem facing the company is our credibility. The public, tenants and the City don't trust us. I want Toronto Community Housing to be the best and to show that. I want other social housing providers come to us for recommendations. This will add to our credibility.
Q: What will be different for Toronto Community Housing tenants when you become President and CEO?
Gene Jones: I want tenants to know that I will be available; they will have access to me or I will come to them. Tenants should know that I understand we need to earn their trust; I will communicate and be transparent. We should hear tenants recommendations even though we make the decisions.
Q: What will you do to make communities safer for tenants?
Gene Jones: I would like to talk to tenants first; they might have a different definition of safety. Tenants have to be an active part in their communities as well. I will also talk to staff and the police to find out the problems so that we can look at safety from a community by community perspective. We can then identify available resources and partnerships for activities that will improve community life.
Q: What will you do to promote and support more tenant engagement?
Gene Jones: I think we should have more town hall meetings, but we also have to go back and meet with tenants after town halls so that tenants are informed about what happened and what we've done and how we're going to do it together.
Tenants should understand what we (as staff) see as tenant accountability. Tenants should look after their buildings as if they were their own. I want more tenants to understand the costs of routine maintenance requests and how this affects larger repairs. I think we need to change the way we as a company think about some things and how tenants think about other things.