PADS, longtime director Wasserberg part ways
BY CASEY TONER firstname.lastname@example.org January 24, 2013 1:00PM
Mike Wasserberg, executive director of South Suburban PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter)
Updated: February 26, 2013 6:30AM
The longtime executive director of South Suburban PADS, who recently oversaw the completion of a $15 million housing center for the homeless in Country Club Hills, no longer is with the organization.
No one is explaining why or saying who made the decision.
Mike Wasserberg, who headed PADS for about 20 years, and the social service agency parted ways Wednesday, PADS officials said Thursday.
“It had nothing to do with anything illegal or inappropriate,” PADS Board President the Rev. Henry Roberts told the SouthtownStar.
He declined to elaborate, saying it was a personnel issue.
“We’re very grateful for his service,” Roberts said.
Reached on his cell phone Thursday morning, Wasserberg declined to comment.
PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter) is an interfaith program that provides shelter and supportive services to the homeless, according to its website. It offers free, emergency overnight shelter at churches throughout the Southland, with the sites varying nightly on a rotating basis.
Because many homeless people have trouble getting from one site to the next, PADS sought for decades to have a permanent shelter built in the Southland, and Wasserberg was a driving force behind the plan.
The Country Club Hills Wellness Center, featuring 77 apartments, was finally built and opened in September. It provides permanent housing for families, but it does not eliminate the need for temporary shelters as originally envisioned.
Wasserberg has long played an integral role in social issues in the south suburbs, officials with other social service organizations said.
“He plays a leadership role. He had a knowledge base that a lot of us relied on, and, hopefully, will continue to rely on,” said Carl Wolf, executive director of RespondNow. The Chicago Heights-based nonprofit provides food, financial assistance and other help to Southland residents, and Wolf said Wasserberg was a tireless advocate for people in need and maintained close connections with area legislators.
“He knew the politics of the area,” Wolf said. “He knew the people in the area, the players.”
The South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association worked closely with PADS on the development of the wellness center, said Ed Paesel, the agency’s executive director.
Wasserberg “was very passionate about what he did and the importance of it to the south suburbs,” Paesel said.
Assistant executive director Michael Cobb will be the interim director while PADS searches for a permanent replacement, the agency said in a news release.
Contributing: Mike Nolan