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 PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Ushering in what he called the "new era" for the city's 80,000 public housing residents, PHA Executive Director John F. White Jr. today announced his selection of five people to fill key positions at the authority.
 White named Arlene F. Bell, current general counsel to the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, as deputy executive director for administration; Jo Ann Jones, a former attorney/advisor to the Philadelphia Regional Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for 11 years, to the position of PHA general counsel; Valena A. Dixon, former PHA director of public information, as chief of staff to the executive director; Wayne Browne, former reporter and columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune, as PHA director of public information; Dennis Kirkland, former PHA area manager for conventional sites, to acting director of conventional sites.
 "It is critically important that as we enter into a new era for PHA, we do so with qualified and talented people working on a variety of levels," White said. "With the selection of these five individuals, we have quality people who will not only implement the responsibilities of their positions with competence and integrity, but they also each share a similar vision and hope for the future of the Philadelphia Housing Authority."
 As deputy executive director for administration, Bell will be responsible to advise the executive director on all administrative matters and will be responsible for managing the operational aspects of the authority, which include human resources, financial management, planning and evaluation, management information, procurement and contracting as well as risk management and affirmative action MBE/EEO activities.
 Bell said she feels confident her experience and knowledge of government will greatly assist PHA with moving forward: "Today, there is a commitment at all levels of government to making PHA a success. Under these circumstances, I am extremely excited to bring my knowledge of local government, as well as my energy and integrity, to the task of improving public housing in Philadelphia."
 In addition to serving as the general counsel for the Pennsylvania Convention Center Authority, Bell was formerly chief of staff/deputy managing director of the City of Philadelphia; she served as chief deputy city solicitor in both special litigation and commercial litigation in the Philadelphia Law Department; served as assistant district attorney at the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office; and for five years, served as staff attorney to City Councilman John F. Street.
 Starting her duties on Oct. 4 as PHA general counsel, Jones will serve as legal counsel for PHA and will advise the executive director on all legal issues.
 In addition to assuring that all legal and regulatory requirements are met for decent, safe and sanitary housing of residents, Jones will also be responsible for managing a variety of technical and administrative operations of the PHA legal department.
 "Today, there is perhaps no challenge in this city more formidable than the Philadelphia Housing Authority," Jones said. "What is comforting, however, is the knowledge that there are many people here who are ready to accept the challenge and I am one of them."
 An attorney, Jones has an extensive background and experience in public and private sector practice, as a senior attorney for commercial law with the city solicitor's office, and as counsel to the Philadelphia Gas Commission. Jones was previously a manager with the Washington- based G. Brown Associates, a private consulting firm for public and private sector housing and real estate-related activities. Jones also served as a consultant to the Office of Legislative Services of the City of Baltimore.
 Serving as chief of staff and as a confidential assistant to the executive director, Dixon brings an extensive base of knowledge about PHA to the new position.
 Formerly the director of public information for PHA, Dixon will conduct research, analysis and recommendations on assigned projects and will serve as a liaison for the executive office between PHA directors and officials, as well as the resident leadership.
 "Today represents a new day for the Philadelphia Housing Authority," Dixon noted. "When the commitment of local elected officials and the federal government are combined with the talents of 1,700 employees and a unified resident leadership, the potential for real change is tremendous. I'm just honored to be a part of that."
 Dixon, who has extensive experience as a public affairs and communications executive, was the community relations manager for Greater Media Cable of Philadelphia prior to serving as the PHA director of public information. She also served as the manager of administration for the Crisis Intervention Network. Dixon begins her duties today.
 Likewise, Browne begins his duties as director of public information today. Responsible for the management of the authority's internal and external communication and information services, Browne will serve as the primary contact with the media, and other publics, for PHA.
 "In addition to functioning as the communications liaison for the authority between the media, public officials, community organizations and PHA residents," Browne said, "I look forward to the challenge of making the mission, goals and accomplishments of PHA much clearer for the public at large."
 Browne served as the Philadelphia Tribune's principal investigative reporter, a featured columnist for the monthly Philadelphia Tribune Magazine, and for eight years as a member of the WPVI-TV-6 Minority Advisory Board. In addition to serving as an executive of a private public relations and marketing firm, Browne also served as the executive director of OPEN, Inc., a community development corporation, for 15 years.
 With more than 21 years of PHA experience, Kirkland today becomes acting director of conventional sites. Kirkland has worked for the authority in a variety of positions, including as assistant director for housing management, area manager for conventional sites, director of youth activities and director of scattered sites.
 He will be responsible for directing and managing the day-to-day operations of the 42 conventional sites of the authority. Kirkland said he is convinced that a spirit of renewal has engulfed the entire agency recently.
 "I sense that an attitude of change has begun at PHA," Kirkland observed. "But in order for us to accomplish our new mission, an attitude change has to come together between all parties -- the residents and the management -- to improve the conditions of housing. I sense a new level of enthusiasm and anticipation among many people about the future of PHA."
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 /CONTACT: Wayne Browne, director of public information, of the Philadelphia Housing Authority, 215-684-4115/ CO: Philadelphia Housing Authority ST: Pennsylvania IN: SU: PER

LJ-CC -- PH006 -- 7745 10/01/93 11:18 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 1, 1993

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