Geagley given five-year contract… Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency Director begins 26th year

Published 7:33 pm Wednesday, December 22, 2021

The Elizabethton Housing and Development Agency renewed executive director Kelly Geagley’s contract for another five years.

Geagley said that he “was blessed” to have the job he has.

“I have a great job and I hope that we are making a difference in people’s lives and are helping them,” Geagley said of the job he has held for 26 years. “They need a place to stay and I want them to have opportunities. The best residents that you have are those that stay for a while and are looking for transitional housing. I hope we provide enough for them to make their life better. The kids, I just love being around them, and I know what it’s like growing up in a single-parent home and 99 percent of the ones up here do and I want to give them a better life and opportunity so they can say they can do anything they want.”

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Geagley, who battled prostate cancer in November 2020, said the position comes with one of the best staff ever to work with.

“I have the best staff,” he said. “If someone had to be out on sick leave it needed to be me. I like to surround myself with good Christian people and these people care. They love these people and care about their job and know they are making a difference in people’s lives.”

Geagley’s role comes with its share of frustrations, but he remains fiercely defensive of the community he serves.

“(The people who live here) didn’t choose to be poor or choose to live in public housing,” he said. “We have a good community. Our residents are good people and they are trying.”

Geagley has one major goal he hopes to accomplish before retiring: Creating a community center that would house a gym for the children; a kitchen for residents to learn how to preserve and cook the foods from the community gardens; and a computer lab for children to do homework and adults to apply for jobs.

We get over $700,000 a year for construction and right now I am putting on roofs,” he said. “The center would cost $1M or more and I don’t want a big fancy gym, but I don’t want to use that construction money when roofs might be leaking or when cold air is coming through the windows … We have a five-year plan and I have never taken that (gym) out.”

The board that appointed Geagley includes Chairman Dale Shook, Vice-Chairman Larry Gobble, Commissioner Stan Bailey, Commissioner Danny Blevins, and Commissioner Bertha Davis. The Elizabethton City Mayor and City Council appoint members to the board.

“I have the best board anyone could ask for,” Geagley said. “This is my third five-year contract. If I don’t do my job tomorrow, I don’t have a buy-out clause. For cause, I can be let go or if I chose to leave, then I can go. We have a great relationship with the City and also provide 24-hour per day police protection.”