BARRE — Trustees of Downstreet Housing & Community Development have lured a familiar name in Vermont’s affordable housing world out of retirement to temporarily fill the void created by the abrupt departure of their recently hired chief executive officer.
Less than two weeks after Karen Hatcher ended her brief tenure as Downstreet’s chief executive, Dan Barlow, chair of the organization’s board, announced Monday that Connie Snow will take over as interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found.
“Connie is just a superstar and we’re really just lucky to have her,” Barlow said of Snow, who is no stranger to the work Downstreet does and not just because she has worked as a consultant supporting the organization’s real estate development efforts.
Snow spent 30 years as executive director of the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust before retiring from the Brattleboro-based non-profit in 2017.
“There are few people more respected for their experience, knowledge, and grace in the Vermont housing world than Connie Snow,” Barlow said.
“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know her over the last several months as a contractor for Downstreet, and I’m thrilled that we have such a great leader to help us through this transition period,” he added.
Barlow, who said last week trustees were moving swiftly to appoint an interim CEO and were focused on a seasoned executive who could fill the unexpected administrative vacancy, said Snow was that executive and will start work next week.
Snow indicated she is happy to help provide the Downstreet board time to launch a search for a more permanent replacement.
“I’m so pleased to work with the Downstreet team during this transition period,” she said. “With its strong mix of seasoned professionals, I look forward to continuing the important and impactful work of providing housing opportunities for local citizens.”
Barlow said reaching an agreement with Snow, who can provide stable and capable leadership over the next few months, frees the board to focus on re-launching a search for a position it thought it filled when Hatcher was hired in mid-August.
For reasons Barlow said he wasn’t at liberty to explain it didn’t work out and, he said, the board planned to discuss the path forward when it met on Monday.
Heading into that meeting, Barlow said he was still hoping the soon-to-be-relaunched search could be wrapped up by April.
But for the holidays, Barlow said, it might be sooner. Rather than rush to re-advertise the position at a time when people might be distracted, he said the board would likely opt to wait until the end of next month to begin soliciting applicants.
Hatcher’s hiring capped a consultant-led process that began before long-time Executive Director Eileen Peltier’s planned departure in April. Julie Curtin, who was working as Downstreet’s chief operating officer at the time, took over Peltier’s CEO duties on an interim basis while the search was being conducted. Curtin has since left Downstret and was recently hired as director of homeownership of the Champlain Housing Trust.