Letters to the Editor
Syracuse, NY 13202
To the Editor:
Last year two plagues were visited upon McCarthy Manor apartment building: bedbugs and Sharon Sherman. The story published by the Post-Standard on July 7 (“Syracuse tenants’ group . . .”) demonstrates Sherman’s skill at getting publicity without producing results.
McCarthy Manor is a 176-unit apartment building subsidized by HUD for people who are disabled or elderly. McCarthy Manor, and the entire country, was hit by bedbugs and everybody was taken by surprise. McCarthy Manor management was on a fast learning curve and aggressively figuring out what to do when Sharon Sherman, so-called executive director of the Greater Syracuse Tenants Network, arrived on the scene.
Sharon Sherman does not represent the tenants. Additionally, she goes out of her way to build a coalition of complainers. She does not do research or inform herself beforehand. Sherman attacks management without regard to the facts.
When I researched her so-called Tenants Network last year, it consisted of a Post Office box, an answering machine, one part-time employee, and a board made up of inexperienced, know-nothing tenants. Sherman was going into the office at night to pick up messages while being employed full-time in community development at City Hall.
When Stephanie Miner was elected mayor, certain people at City Hall were allowed to resign before she took office: Sherman was flat-out fired. Thereafter, Sherman went back to the Tenants Network and the young man who was working there found himself without a job. As Sherman told me, “Well, I had to have an income.”
Sherman has actively taken over the tenants association at McCarthy Manor, which is a violation of her role responsibilities. She sits at the head table and directs the president on how to run the meeting. Of the 180 tenants at McCarthy
Manor, only a dozen attend meetings. In other words, 93% of the tenants have voted with their feet and won’t have anything to do with Sherman. A few people whose sole purpose in life is to complain still support her.
McCarthy Manor management cannot expel Sherman from the property because of HUD regulations. HUD says she’s not their responsibility. When I complained to City Hall, they said that Sherman’s grant would be coming up for renewal. I
asked to be notified when the hearings took place so I could testify about Sherman’s activities.
City Hall did not notify me. Instead, they gave her another $40,000 of the taxpayers’ money. Most of it will be used to pay her salary. Sherman goes into apartment buildings, stirs up trouble, and attacks management over non-issues.
I have known Sherman ten years and have tried to get her assistance at two other HUD residences—Bernardine Apartments and St. David’s Court—where there were major landlord/tenant problems. Sherman did nothing at St. David’s Court and made matters worse at the Bernardine. She has attacked the mild-mannered management of McCarthy Manor and done nothing against the strong, hostile management of the other properties.
McCarthy Manor management successfully got rid of the bedbugs, but there seems to be no way for the tenants to get rid of Sharon Sherman. Apparently Sherman still has friends at City Hall.
Anne C Woodlen