Fri., June 1, 2012 4:21pm (EDT)

Savannah Homeless Agency Sacks Director
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 2 years ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
The Savannah Area Homeless authority helps about 5,000 people each year.  But its funding problems have led its board to look for new leadership.  (photo BTal)
The Savannah Area Homeless authority helps about 5,000 people each year. But its funding problems have led its board to look for new leadership. (photo BTal)
One of Savannah's homeless agencies is getting new leadership.

Board members for the Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless sacked their director this week amid a funding shortfall and a spat with top city officials.

The agency's board wrestled with Mark Baggett's leadership for two months as Savannah's city manager, Rochelle Small-Toney, froze funds to the agency.

The manager is concerned about overdue payments.

But some members of the authority countered that the agency is chronically underfunded and that Baggett shouldn't be held responsible.

Authority officials say, the payments weren't made because Baggett had to keep the lights on.

Board vice-chairman Sherrill Gilbert says, she hopes the city will release the frozen funds.

"We have nothing negative to say about Mr. Baggett or anything that has transpired," Gilbert says. "It was a business decision."

The Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless gets $3.7 million federal and state dollars and serves more than 5,000 a year.

Gilbert says, the board's decision isn't about Mr. Baggett's performance.

"It's not one person's responsibility or one organization's responsibility," Gilbert says. "And that's why we are careful not to point out anything about any one particular person or one particular organization."

The ouster comes two years after another Savannah-area homeless agency head stepped down amid funding squabbles.

The Rev. Michael Elliott of Union Mission came under fire after state officials cut off funding and an employee was found manipulating financial statements for a mental health collaborative.