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Mae Bachur sacks animal shelter manager

Betty Irwin has been fired from her position as manager at the Mae Bachur animal shelter, after a little more than a year on the job.

Betty Irwin has been fired from her position as manager at the Mae Bachur animal shelter, after a little more than a year on the job.

Brent Slobodin, board president of the Humane Society Yukon, dismissed the long-time city councillor last Thursday morning.

He said that although he couldn’t discuss the details of Irwin’s settlement or package, it was time for a fresh start.

“The board decided the new direction that we want to take didn’t have the right person in the job that we thought we needed,” he said yesterday.

“It was time to part ways with Betty. She did a good job for us but in terms of where we want to go, we felt it was time to move on.”

The board, which currently has seven members, is looking to put a new model in place this fall, he added.

That means reviewing the job description for the shelter manager position, as well as the current policies and practices in place.

“Because we’re all relatively new and there have been so many changes to the board the last few years, we feel we need to get back on track with strategic planning, fundraising and particularly look at corporate sponsorships.”

Irwin was hired for the position in July 2014, after volunteering at the shelter for many years.

At the time she said she was hoping to expand the facility within the next five years. She also spoke about issues with the building’s foundation and drainage.

In an email sent to the News this morning, Irwin said she enjoyed her time working at the shelter.

“I will miss it and all the beautiful animals that I will not to get to know and fall in love with,” she said.

“As with all NGOs, money is always the issue and it was necessary to cut expenses, staff being the most expendable. I will still continue to volunteer where I can, because I do believe sincerely that the shelter is necessary to the community.”

The financial situation at the animal shelter has been anything but stable over the years.

In May 2013, it was reported the society had a shortfall of $90,000, compared to just $8,500 at the end of the 2011-2012 financial year.

According to the minutes of an April 23 board meeting, the 2015-2016 budget breakdown anticipated $191,000 in wages, or approximately 50 per cent of the shelter’s total budget.

Other expenses included $82,000 in shelter operations and $66,000 in animal expenses.

Revenues included $100,000 from grants, $75,000 from bingo fundraisers and $62,500 from adoptions.

The latest financial report for the animal shelter isn’t yet available on the society’s website. It was presented at the society’s annual general meeting on July 28.

Slobodin said the board is in the midst of a financial review to determine what it can afford to pay a new shelter manager.

“It’s not good,” he said of the animal shelter’s current financial situation.

“But we all inherited this, so we’re not ascribing any blame to anyone.”

Linda Priestley is filling in the role as interim shelter manager for the time being.

Contact Myles Dolphin at