AFRH leadership changes could impact Gulfport campus

AFRH leadership changes could impact Gulfport campus

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - A big leadership change with the Armed Forces Retirement Home may eventually affect the Gulfport campus.

Chief Operating Officer Timothy Kangas, who has been responsible for both retirement homes in Gulfport and Washington D.C. for 18 months, has been fired.

David Tillotson, acting deputy chief management officer for the Department of Defense, told WLOX News Now that the firing on Thursday was because of Kangas' pushback on the effort to increase revenue sources to help the campuses become more self-sustaining.

"The trust fund operating model for the retirement home is not producing the revenue necessary to keep up with operating costs," Tillotson said. "We've concluded that the path to becoming more solvent and sustainable is going to be through a business model that focuses as much on new sources of income as anything else."

Tillotson is heading up an oversight committee started in February to review funding issues with both campuses for the retirement home system.

Currently, the homes are operating at a $20 million deficit a year and have been supplemented by government appropriation for the last two years, with another request this year.

Tillotson said that at this point, he didn't expect any immediate changes in staffing at the Gulfport campus. Jeffrey A. Eads is currently the administrator..

"That would all be up to the incoming chief operating officer to do an evaluation," Thompson said.

Tillotson said he didn't see any problems with operations at either the Washington campus or the Gulfport campus.

"This is not about we need to be more efficient," Tillotson said. This is about we're short income."

As far as a potential for higher costs for residents at the campuses, Tillotson said part of the AFRH mission is to help support the veterans.

"We're looking at all sources of revenue as we go forward, and that's an issue we will take up with the new COO as we go," Tillotson said. "But, I will tell you that we're not going to lose track of the fact that we have a significant number of residents that are, in fact, not going to be able to, under any condition, pay full price for their residence."

Tillotson said he will have a video conference town hall meeting with residents and staff at the Gulfport campus by noon Friday.

An interim COO has been selected until the permanent position is filled. Tillotson said the leading candidate has experience in operating retirement communities in nonprofit settings.

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