by Scott Unger

January 15, 2018

Southernmost Homeless Assistance League Executive Director John Miller has resigned from his position and will be replaced by Interim Director Elicia Pintabona, who was previously Deputy Director.

Miller is leaving the Keys to pursue other opportunities and the decision has nothing to do with allegations of mismanagement at Key West’s homeless shelter, which SHAL will address at Wednesday’s City Commission meeting, Pintabona said.

The agency, which manages the Keys Overnight temporary Shelter, will address claims of former employee Mike Tolbert who said the facility misused funds, had unsanitary food preparation and unsafe conditions under Miller’s watch.

The presentation has been delayed twice, most recently due to a scheduling error by City Manager Jim Scholl.

Pintabona started her SHAL employment as a case worker and was promoted to Outreach Director before taking over as Deputy Executive Director. She has a background in municipal government and studied psychology, according to a press release.

Miller, who served as director for four years, drew scrutiny from City Commissioner Sam Kaufman in 2016 for expanding the scope of programs at KOTS, outside the guidelines that mandate a place to sleep for the city’s destitute.

Miller’s budget included $14,600 in funding for a Housing First program and $6,000 for an off-site satellite office.

The agency would like to keep and expand other programs in the community going forward, but those decisions rely heavily on grant funding, Pintabona said.

Pintabona, who said she is “deeply rooted in the community and organization,” will pursue the Executive Director position permanently and said she is excited to continue SHAL’s mission.

“I definitely look forward to fostering good relationships within the community,” she said. “I look forward to a great year and all good things for SHAL.”

Miller was not able to be reached for comment.

sunger@keysnews.com