New York Gov. Mario M. Cuomo yesterday appointed John G. Martinez as the new executive director of the state Housing Finance Authority and four related agencies, according to John Deacy, spokesman for the authority.
"John Martinez brings to the Housing Finance Agency a national reputation in policy issues," Gov. Cuomo said in a release. "His leadership can only strengthen an agency that has kept New York at the forefront of affordable housing programs nationwide."
For the past three years, Mr. Martinez has served as executive director of the Kentucky Housing Corp., managing a staff of 91 with an operating budget of $5.5 million and an asset base of $1.3 billion.
From 1984 to 1988, he was director of Boulder, Colorado's Housing Department and Housing Authority. While there, he managed a housing program that included property management, rehabilitation, and energy loan and grant programs.
He began his housing career in 1982 as a deputy director of housing for the City of Boulder.
"I was very fortunate to start my career in a city as progressive as Boulder," Mr. Martinez said. "We did a great deal of work to increase the percentage of public and private partnerships in the housing industry."
"I am very pleased to be joining HFA," he noted. "This particular state agency is one of the best of its kind in the country."
Mr. Martinez said he is looking forward to bringing to New York his experience creating partnerships between different sectors of the housing industry in Boulder and Kentucky.
"I would like to be able to take better advantage of all the resources of [New York], including the public, private, and even the not-for-profit sectors," he added.
Since its creation as a public benefit corporation in 1960, the Housing Finance Authority has issued over $7 billion of bonds to finance construction of more than 100,000 housing units, as well as educational facilities for different State University of New York campuses.
As executive director of the authority, Mr. Martinez also assumes the same position at the New York State Medical Care Facilities Agency, the State Affordable Housing Corp., the New York State Project Finance Agency, and the State of New York Municipal Bond Bank Agency.
Angelo Aponte, New York State housing director, said, "He joins us at a critical time, when our housing agencies are being asked to finance and develop housing programs for a growing number of New Yorkers with special needs."
Mr. Martinez won attention in April when he lost out to Gary E. King as a candidate for executive director of the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority.
Connecticut state Treasurer Francisco L. Borges, who is also an ex officio member of the Connecticut housing authority's board, complained that the hiring of Mr. King, who is white, was inconsistent with state-mandated affirmative action policies.
Housing authority officials said Mr. King was appointed because he was qualified. Mr. King had been with the Connecticut authority for 10 years.
Mr. Martinez, who is Hispanic, and New York-based real estate executive Linda B. Einhorn were also in contention for the Connecticut position.
Mr. Martinez said he was not at all discouraged by the Connecticut situation.
"It was a competitive situation with lots of variables," he said. "Now it looks like I got the better of the deal."