Iris Kirby House hires new executive director

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Iris Kirby House has announced the hiring of Michelle Greene as executive director of the women's shelter.

Greene's appointment takes effect May 2.

It comes in the wake of a critical government audit that flagged significant accountability and oversight issues at the transition house.

According to a press release, Greene has a master's degree in social work, specializing in social policy and administration.

"She brings extensive management experience, including policy development, human resource and financial management in not-for-profit and public sectors," the Iris Kirby House board of directors noted.

That statement stressed "operating Iris Kirby House in an environment of openness and transparency, and most importantly, providing direction to the organization's staff as they support women and children at a time of great need."

Greene's hiring comes two months after the board told Iris Kirby House staff in a terse, one-sentence memo that former CEO Gail Tobin had departed the transition house and its affiliated charitable foundation.

Tobin went on "extended medical leave" last fall, after a critical government audit raised questions about financial management at the shelter.

At the time, Tobin took issue with the conclusions of government auditors, who had flagged an array of expenditures at the shelter and its charitable foundation. In a statement issued through her lawyer, Tobin contended there were "numerous inaccuracies" in the report by the comptroller general's office.

That audit was performed in the wake of a series of CBC News investigative reports about Iris Kirby House.

Those stories revealed the shelter's reluctance to provide Eastern Health with seven years of financial statements while receiving millions from the public purse. It also revealed the purchase of a home in Conception Harbour that fell into unused disrepair, and significant errors in the financial statements the foundation filed with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Last summer, the provincial government warned it could pull millions of funding for Iris Kirby House if its questions weren't answered.

The province and shelter officials ultimately reached a deal to keep tax dollars flowing.