December 6, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
The province has appointed an administrator to take over the operation of Manitoba’s largest women’s shelter.
Osborne House has violated its service-provision agreement with the province and the shelter’s board hasn’t taken any steps to address the concerns of independent consultants hired to review the shelter’s operations, provincial officials said Friday in a release.
"The province has a responsibility to ensure every domestic-violence shelter in Manitoba is a safe place for women, children and staff, and that shelters maintain the services they are funded to provide."
The province said it has appointed a former shelter executive director, Marlene Bertrand, as Osborne House’s provisional administrator.
On Thursday, Osborne House CEO Barbara Judt said she was taking a medical leave.
"We are finished," Judt said on her personal Facebook page Friday. "… the NDP have shown us that they had a plan all along to replace the board and myself. Marlene Bertrand has just shown up at the agency as the appointed provincial administrator."
Judt has been embroiled in a public battle with the provincial government over funding and operations at the shelter that operates with $1.6 million annually from the province.
The rift between Osborne House and the government surfaced Aug. 22 when the shelter exposed deputy premier Eric Robinson's comment on "do-good white people" in criticizing the shelter for a burlesque-show fundraiser.
The province had earlier commissioned an external review that criticized the shelter's operations and alleged incomplete records, insufficient counselling and a toxic workplace where staff are "divided into camps."
This week, Judt's Facebook page pointed to a letter from the board of Osborne House blaming the deputy minister of family services and labour for Judt requiring medical leave. The letter accused the province of constructing a "scheme" to discredit the shelter staff and board.
Updated on Friday, October 4, 2013 at 3:25 PM CDT: