Detroit Land Bank names new executive director

The Detroit Land Bank Authority’s board has a hired a native Detroiter with nearly two decades of experience in municipal government to lead the city agency charged with clearing out blighted properties and selling salvageable homes.

Saskia Thompson, a graduate of Cass Technical High School, will be the land bank authority’s new executive director starting in September.

The land bank’s board hired Thompson after holding interviews last week to replace Carrie Lewand-Monroe, who left the agency in mid-May to return to private sector development and consulting work.

Thompson is returning to Detroit after six years as the deputy finance director for the city of Philadelphia, where she has also has served on the city’s planning commission and was executive director of the Office of Property Data.

She previously spent nine years in Charlotte, N.C. as executive director of the city manager’s office, according to a news release.

“Saskia Thompson has the right blend of experience and knowledge for this extremely important position,” said Erica Ward Gerson, chair of the Detroit Land Bank Authority board, in a statement. “Her deep understanding of governmental operations, project management and public finance made her the obvious choice.”

Thompson’s career in municipal government includes two years in former Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer’s administration.

“I am thrilled at the opportunity to come back to my hometown and be a part of the great work that is being done by the city of Detroit and the Detroit Land Bank,” Thompson said in a statement.

Thompson was not available for comment Monday, land bank spokesman Craig Fahle said.

The land bank board set Thompson’s annual salary will be $150,000, Fahle said.

Lewand-Monroe remains a contracted consultant for the land bank for occasional hourly work through May 2018, Fahle said.

Thompson will take over a city agency that’s been under scrutiny by auditors and federal investigators for demolition contracts that exceeded $25,000.

Last summer,…

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