Bedbugs and Sharon Sherman

Letters to the Editor


Clinton Square

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

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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One Response to Bedbugs and Sharon Sherman

  1. Jacquie - President McCarthy Manor's Tenants Assoc, says:

    Dear Ann;
    I completely agree with your comments concerning Sharon Sherman, but sense you posted a copy of the July 7th, 2011 letter here a great many things have changed within the Tenants Association. First I was elected Secretary, and Acting President as Ray had quit coming to the meetings. During that time I proved my self and in the following election was elected President and acting Secretary. The membership has slowly increased and we generally have 30 to 35 members attending. Last month was the largest attendance as Sharon Sherman was not there.

    With your information and that of several others, I have learned that Sharon Sherman dose not have any reason or right to be at the meetings, and will be asked to leave at the next meeting, by my self — in private. Not that she has given me any reason to extend any courtesy to her ,but I wish to maintain the high road.

    Jacquie Bailey

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