Shulman Wins Vice Mayoral Runoff

Jim Shulman

Safe Haven, a nonprofit focused on ending family homelessness, is conducting a workplace review in response to staff concerns about CEO Jim Shulman, who also serves as Nashville’s vice mayor.

The organization has enlisted the Center for Nonprofit Management and “outside human resources experts” to interview staff, who have reported hostile behavior from Shulman to the board, according to sources familiar with the situation. Safe Haven’s prior CEO Joyce Lavery led the organization for 10 years — Shulman replaced Lavery in 2021 and attributes tensions to staff chafed by a transition in leadership.

“Right now, Safe Haven doesn’t have everyone on the same page," Shulman tells the Scene. "The board asked and I agreed to step away temporarily. I’ve had some employees who, from the very start, have challenged my ability to direct the agency. They continue to challenge, and that’s some of what is going on right now.”

Shulman is no longer physically working in the office and did not appear over the weekend at Hike for Safe Haven, the organization’s flagship fundraiser.

Safe Haven Family Shelter’s board of directors is working diligently to look into concerns shared by the staff and ensure there is no disruption to the important work Safe Haven does to support families experiencing homelessness,” reads a statement sent to the Scene on behalf of Safe Haven by Leigh Lindsey, a member of the board and senior vice president at public relations firm McNeely, Pigott & Fox. “During this time, Jim has chosen to work from his home office, which we support.”

Shulman has served as vice mayor since 2019, and was first elected to the Metro Council in 1999. He was named CEO of Safe Haven in 2021. Before that, Shulman led the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability.

This story was first published by our sister publication Nashville Scene.