July 23, 2021 - [UPDATED 7:55 a.m)Sources tell the Savannah Business Journal that Acting City Manager Michael Brown has resigned his position, effective July 30, 2021. Mayor Johnson confirmed this SBJ exclusive at the conclusion of Thursday's regularly-scheduled meeting, prior to the announcement of the City's new City Manager. No reasons for Brown's dramatic departure can be confirmed.
However, two sources state that Alderman-at-Large Kesha Gibson Carter cursed at him at a ribbon cutting earlier in the week, saying “F…k you, Fool.” He has told Council members that it was the last straw in trying to work with her. The SBJ also spoke with a trusted source who was at the event, and heard the remark.
There was apparently, also, a very heated exchange earlier today, during an executive session, when Alderwoman Alicia Blakely was reportedly “screaming and hollering at people” according to several members of the Council. Alderman Detric Leggett has confirmed that he “lost it” and said, “This is some bullshit,” which he apologized for at the beginning of the council meeting last night, and asked the visiting pastor to pray for him. Tensions continue to run high between several members of the Council and five to six members of the nine-person council who tend to vote in support of actions and initiatives of Mayor Van Johnson.
Heath Lloyd, Assistant City Manager and Chief Infrastructure and Development Officer, has been named interim City Manager from Friday, July 30 through Friday, Sept. 10. Lloyd is one of three finalists for the permanent City Manager, a process that has been going on for months after the City retained a national search firm.
Michael Brown was the City Manager for Savannah for many years, but agreed to return and step in to be the Acting City Manager when the Acting City Manager named under the Mayor Eddie DeLoach administration Council asked to not renew his contract, seeking to go back to his retirement. The City Council could not agree on a permanent City Manager at that time, and have been using leaders in acting positions now for almost three years.
Michael Brown has served as City Manager since Nov. 2020, in this latest assignment, but has more than 40 years of experience in local government. He currently owns a consulting firm which works with local governments across Georgia and the South.
SBJ will contact Alderwoman Gibson Carter for a comment at the conclusion of tonight's meeting, and will update the story accordingly.
Editor's Note: We incorrectly stated in our original posting of this story that the confrontation earlier in the day was between Alderwoman Kesha Gibson-Carter and Alderman Detric Leggett. We sincerely apologize to her for the error.