Just six months in, head of Santa Fe housing nonprofit exits
Kevin Kellogg thought he had found his dream job in Santa Fe when he was hired as the executive director of The Housing Trust, a nonprofit dedicated to helping people in Northern New Mexico find an affordable place to live.
But just six months into the job, Kellogg has resigned. His resignation was effective Friday.
“This was a hard-won position and I considered this my ‘dream job,’ ” Kellogg, 57, wrote in his resignation letter. “However, after an open and sincere conversation with the Board, it is clear that I am not the best fit for the organization and the Board’s needs.”
In an interview Tuesday, Kellogg said the feeling was mutual.
“I was respectful of the board’s needs, and at the same time, you can’t go forward unless you have absolutely 100 percent support of your board,” he said.
“I didn’t feel like I did,” he added. “Everyone has to be there. Really, everyone has to be on board.”
Wayne Miller, president of the The Housing Trust’s board of directors, said Kellogg wasn’t fired or asked to resign.
“It’s unfortunate that this has occurred, but we’ll move forward,” Miller said. “We are going to stay true to our mission, which is providing affordable housing to the city of Santa Fe.”
Both Miller and Kellogg said the organization enjoyed a number of “big successes” under Kellogg’s tenure, including the launch of the construction phase of the Soleras Station affordable housing development on the city’s south side and additional work in Tierra Contenta to provide building sites for new affordable housing and amenities in the southwest-side subdivision.
Kellogg also represented The Housing Trust on the Mayor’s Advancing Affordable Housing and Livable Neighborhoods Advisory Group and the Santa Fe Housing Action Coalition Steering Committee, among other bodies.
“Kevin has been a good steward of The Housing Trust during this interim period,” Miller said.
Kellogg was hired to replace Sharron Welsh, the longtime executive director who founded The Housing Trust in 1992.
“A really hard act to follow,” Kellogg said.
Kim Shanahan, former executive director of the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association, said he was surprised to hear of Kellogg’s resignation.
“I wish Kevin Kellogg a great deal of luck in the city of Santa Fe, and I hope that something immediately will be able to come forward for him because his expertise in housing and large developments is a perspective our city could use,” Shanahan said.
Kellogg, who is married to Carol Johnson, the city’s new land use director, said he is “definitely” staying in Santa Fe. Though he still doesn’t know what he’ll do next, he said has options.
“I’m going to stay here and continue to be active professionally and personally,” he said, adding that he’s passionate about housing and social equity. “I’ll be, I’m sure, talking to a lot of people about how I can contribute from here on.”
Kellogg started his career as an architect in Albuquerque in the 1980s. He also has worked as an affordable housing consultant, a government administrator and an academic. Most recently, he served as director of the Housing Authority of Maricopa County in Phoenix.
“I’ve been successful working on larger scale projects, working on complicated problems and bringing people together to solve things, to move a complicated and sometimes mind-numbing project forward,” he said. “When I can combine really connecting with people to the technical expertise that I have, that’s sort of the sweet spot for me.”
Miller said Peter Werwath will act as interim executive director of The Housing Trust.
“He was one of the founding advisers of The Housing Trust and he served as an executive director in nine months in 2008 and 2009,” he said. “He’s very familiar with The Housing Trust.”
Follow Daniel J. Chacón on Twitter @danieljchacon.