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10:40 am
Tue June 14, 2011

Ron Sims' announcement he is leaving HUD

Dear HUD Colleagues,

Today is one of the more difficult days of my time with you.  I want to let you know that at the end of July I am retiring from public service and heading back home to my family in Seattle.

As rewarding as my two years at HUD have been professionally, they have been equally challenging to my family. Living more than 2,000 miles from those I love most is a burden I no longer wish to endure. While there is joy and relief in my decision to go home, it is with a heavy heart I say goodbye to all of you.

It has been an honor and a privilege to serve with you. I want to express my heart-felt gratitude to President Obama and Secretary Donovan for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime.  Working with Secretary Donovan, a gifted leader and someone I will always consider a friend, has been most gratifying and I will always cherish my association with him.

Serving with you has been an extraordinary experience for me. Together we have taken courageous steps to reaffirm the critical role that HUD plays in assisting those with little to no public voice, our nation's most vulnerable citizens.

We talk a lot about how to improve the way we do business and how we deliver customer service and there’s no doubt that’s critical.  But what you don't hear often enough, and what I've personally witnessed, is the caring and commitment of the people in this Department.  It's exemplified in the HUD volunteer who gives his or her personal time to save a veteran from homelessness, or the HUD employee who hears about a local disaster and immediately calls in to ask "what can I do?"

Transitional moments like this often lend themselves to assessing where we are, where we've been, and where we’re going.

Together we have taken HUD to the forefront of a national sustainability movement by creating the Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities, establishing new funding opportunities for metropolitan regions and rural communities that has helped spark a national phenomenon in urban planning.

Never again should we think of a healthy community without thinking of how that community is linked to transportation choices, educational opportunities, safe neighborhoods, a vibrant ecology, healthy food choices, and access to arts and humanities.  And never again should we sit back and let a zip code be the determinant of the health and well being of a child.

We’ve made clear our commitment to equity and inclusion by supporting landmark court settlements that bring real meaning to our nations need to affirmatively further fair housing. We’ve acted to bring the full force of the law to those communities that chose to ignore these responsibilities.  And we’re engaged in the most comprehensive reform of the Affirmatively Further Fair Housing rule since its inception.  Although I will not be here to see this project come to an end, I know in my heart that when it is completed, it will help guide communities across the country to overcome past patterns of segregation and help all of us reach our true potential as a nation.

Together, we’ve also ushered in a new era of partnership and collaboration inside the federal family of agencies.  Starting with our historic partnership at the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on livable communities, we’ve formed strong bonds with other agencies as well including: the Department of Energy (DOE) in weatherization; the Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) and over 20 federal agencies and Executive branch offices on climate change; EPA on urban waters and environmental justice; and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Veterans care and assistance for persons with disabilities.  And the list goes on.  These partnerships have brought real results because they allow the agency to break through organizational limitations, and see problems and solutions beyond one singular perspective.

There is so much more to do.  Despite the progress that we’ve made these past two years, you and I know that we still face significant challenges.  With unemployment and foreclosures still too high, each of you must continue to make every day that you work for HUD count for the communities we serve.  HUD’s mission and programs remain more relevant, and more necessary than ever.  We will need to find creative ways to leverage private sector resources with increasingly limited public funds. I am confident that you will rise to meet these challenges.

During the process of making this decision and trying to figure out the best way to say goodbye, my visits to the field offices, my daily chats with employees, your emails, and the thousands of hugs flashed through my mind.  You always want to say something memorable and profound in moments like this but I know my words will never be able to capture what this time with each of you has meant to me.

I feel so blessed to have had the privilege and honor to serve with you as HUD's Deputy Secretary.  Although I'll be leaving the agency, a piece of my heart will always be here.  I am eternally indebted for the friendship and the memories and the open arms with which you embraced me.

Thank you for what you do every day. Peace and prosperity to you all.

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