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Erik Johnson, Director of Development Services

Erik Johnson2
Erik Johnson is a reputable leader and problem solver with over twenty years of experience in managing public-private partnerships in new and emerging markets. Combining skills learned as a community organizer, an urban planner, a lender and as an investor; he is committed to finding innovative and balanced solutions to address housing and economic development challenges that exist in communities and cities throughout the Country.

In October 2019 Erik was appointed by Mayor Luke Bronin to be the new Director of Development Services. The Department of Development Services (DDS) is comprised of five divisions that collectively provide services related to economic development, job growth, urban planning, housing, code enforcement, zoning, blight remediation, and cultural & special events for the City of Hartford. Prior to joining the City of Hartford’s Leadership Team, Erik worked for the Elm City Communities as its Senior Director for Strategy, Policy and Innovation; where he was responsible for compliance efforts and directed the creation of 360 Management Group, a third party property management company, he also supported the re-organization of a $50M housing subsidy program.

Erik has also served as a Vice President of Development for National CORE in Southern California and is also the former Executive Director of the Livable City Initiative in New Haven, Connecticut, where he led a team of 46 staff people, and oversaw an investment pipeline of 1,000 new units and $500 million development activities.

Erik is a graduate of Trinity College in Hartford CT and holds a Master's Degree in City and Regional Planning from Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD. and services on the Board of Capital Region Development Authority, East Hartford- Hartford Innovations Places, and the Community Action Agency of New Haven.


Dr. Elda Sinani, LL.M., Deputy Director of Development Services and Director of Licenses & Inspections

EldaDr. Elda Sinani. LL.M. is a highly accomplished executive who helps businesses from Fortune 500 to national nonprofits solve their most difficult problems. Currently, Dr. Sinani is the Deputy Director of Development Services. Her main goal is to reintegrate the online permitting system, inspection process, and all code violations, which will not only be more efficient increasing revenues, but provide better customer service.

Dr. Sinani previously worked as Director of Licenses and Inspections, becoming the first woman in its 200+ years’ history to lead the building, permits and inspections Department. Dr. Sinani has also worked as a Director of Operations for the Department where she managed successfully a multimillion-dollar operation budget, multiple capital improvements contracts and human resources program which resulted in cost reductions, revenue improvement, and team building.

In addition to her law degree from Albania, Dr. Sinani holds a Law Degree from the University of Connecticut School of Law, and a Doctorate in Law and Public Policy from Northeastern University. She has spoken and attended trainings at well-known institutions such as Yale and Harvard University on subjects of Negotiation, Leadership Development, Arbitration and Conflict Resolution.

Dr. Sinani is the author of several reports and articles on human rights, racial and gender discrimination, and immigration issues. Her name was added to the Wall of Tolerance in Montgomery, Alabama to provide inspiration to all those who chose to stand up against hatred and racial discrimination. . 


Laura Settlemyer, Director of Blight Remediation and Housing Code Enforcement

 Laura leads the Blight Remediation Team (BRT) and brings extensive experience working with communities in the field of reclaiming vacant, abandoned, deteriorating, and foreclosed properties.  She has worked for the Center for Community Progress, partnering with Michigan’s land banks and cities, particularly Detroit and Flint, on strategies for shaping and implementing efficient, effective, and equitable policies to revitalize properties and neighborhoods.  She has also worked for the New Orlean’s City Attorney’s Office as counsel to the Department of Code Enforcement, the Department of Housing Policy & Community Development, and the Capital Projects Administration.  Laura also has experience with working on commercial litigation matters, including federal government contracts, title insurance, and commercial mortgage foreclosures.  She earned her J.D. from Emory University School of Law and her A.B. in Economics from Harvard University.  Laura grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina, but she was born in Boston and is happy to be back in New England.


Donald W. Chapman, Director of Community and Small Business Development

Prior to becoming Director, Donald was a Principal Planner with the City of Hartford where he was responsible for the implementation the City’s zoning regulations as they affect development projects. Donald has extensive experience in deciphering and developing land use controls, community outreach and business engagement.  During his career, Donald has been responsible for development, staffing and organizational business management. These unique experiences broadened his understanding of development needs and impacts.  His experiences in the public and private sector in Los Angeles and Hartford give him unique advantages when site selection and entitlement processing are areas frequently discussed and his expertise can be applied. 

Donald is a professional planner with over 30 years of development planning experience. Donald holds a degree in Policy Studies from Dartmouth College. 


Brian C. Mathews, Director of Housing

Brian C. Mathews was appointed the Director of Housing in the Department of Development Services for the City of Hartford in January 2015.  His career with the City began in May of 2005; before becoming Director he held the position of Senior Project Manager for a variety of federally and state funded programs within the Division of Housing.  Prior to joining the City, Mr. Mathews spent a decade in the mortgage banking industry, promoting homeownership in the towns of Hartford, Windsor, and Bloomfield. In addition to formerly owning and operating a mortgage brokerage business, Mr. Mathews previously worked for People’s United Bank – where he was instrumental in partnering with the City to create a successful down payment assistance program.  The program, HouseHartford, is now responsible for creating over 1,300 new homeowners and providing $15.7 Million in financial assistance since inception.  Brian has served as a board member for Rebuilding Together Hartford and the Urban League of Greater Hartford.  He is an avid proponent of homeownership, and has conducted seminars covering topics which include budgeting & credit, predatory lending, the mortgage loan process, and small multi-family investment strategies.   Mr. Mathews is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania where he was a member of the university’s football and track & field teams.  A native of Hartford, Brian has called several Hartford neighborhoods home, including the Blue Hills, South End, Asylum Hill, Southwest, and South Green neighborhoods.

Housing, Economic Development, Planning & Zoning is located at 250 Constitution Plaza, 4th Floor
   Licenses & Inspections is located at 260 Constitution Plaza, Ground Floor

HARTFORD CITY HALL ADDRESS: 550 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103 PHONE: (860)757-9311 HOURS: 8AM - 5PM