Shelter director resigns post

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 21, 2005

The executive director of the Suffolk Shelter for the Homeless quit Thursday after being asked to resign by the shelter’s 13-member board.

Terry Miller, who has headed up the shelter since October 2000, said she stepped down because she wasn’t able to give board members a detailed account of her work mileage since July 2003.

However, she reported that she typically logs about 700 miles weekly by traveling to meetings, fundraising and the like.

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&uot;I drove all over Hampton Roads and Western Tidewater…and spent a lot of time in Richmond and Washington D.C.,&uot; said Miller. &uot;Most of our grants came from sources outside Hampton Roads.&uot;

In 2004, the shelter paid employees nearly $12,500 in mileage, according to its tax return. Miller said most of that went to her.

Miller doesn’t know exactly what her next career stop will be.

&uot;But it’s time to go,&uot; Miller said.

&uot;Being executive director to me at times felt like a forced fit.

&uot;It’s okay for board members to want a change,&uot; she said.

&uot;I’ve always served at the pleasure of the shelter’s board members. Once I no longer had their pleasure, all they had to do was say so.&uot;

James Caton, a spokesman for the shelter’s board, refused to discuss Miller’s resignation.

&uot;There’s nothing I can tell you about this,&uot; Caton said. &uot;Terri’s resignation is internal. It deals with personnel.&uot;

The privately-owned shelter has been caught in the glare of the media spotlight several times over the past year, most recently when the United Way of South Hampton Roads withdrew the shelter’s funding because of its policy of closing on major holidays.

That came on the heels of the shelter’s eviction of six families just days before Thanksgiving last year, prompting the city to come to the aid of the 16 women and children over the holiday weekend. Despite the timing, the residents were evicted because of continued violations of shelter rules, according to documentation provided by the shelter.

Caton refused to say whether Miller’s abrupt departure had anything to do with the wave of negative publicity surrounding shelter policies. However, he said the board would probably be looking into some of the existing policies.

&uot;All I can tell you is that we are open as usual for businesses,&uot; Caton said. &uot;Employees are stepping up to help out and board members are more involved in the daily operations of the shelter.&uot;

The board will begin looking for a new shelter director in coming weeks, he added.