Resignation will take effect on May 27.
By Sam Catanzaro
Heidi Marston, executive director of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) has tendered her resignation over a dispute with the organization’s board regarding the salaries of its lowest-paid employees.
Marston, who started the job in an interim role in 2019, announced her resignation on Monday. When she began, the lowest-paid LAHSA employees’ salary was $33,000. In March 2021, Marston raised the annual salary of 196 employees at LAHSA to $50,000 while freezing the compensation of the organization’s 10 highest-paid workers. LAHSA’s oversight commission, composed of city and county political appointees, questioned this move.
“Since making this decision, I have been accused of undermining ‘management’s position’ in re-negotiating LAHSA’s new Union Contract,” Martson wrote in a letter to the commission announcing her planned resignation. “My decision to increase LAHSA’s compensation floor to $50,000, as well as my decision to freeze compensation increases for our most highly-compensated employees, addressed the permanent need — as well as the pressing need of this moment in history — to align our commitments and values at every level of our work.”
In the letter, Marston said her resignation would take effect on May 27. Her current salary is $243,296.
Marston’s announcement was applauded by People Assisting The Homeless, or PATH, which contracts with the city to provide homeless services.
“Having closely worked with Heidi Marston and LAHSA for a number of years, I am saddened to see her stepping down as executive director. Unfortunately, the current homeless services system is highly politicized and funding for proven solutions are subject to frequently changing winds of public opinion,” said PATH CEO Jennifer Hark Dietz in a statement. “Much of the work the current LA system does addresses the symptoms of homelessness, not the systemic causes. I applaud Heidi’s strength to call out the systems that cause and perpetuate homelessness.”