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CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland is saying almost nothing about the recent resignations of its executive and operations directors.
Matt Carlson, who served 13 years as executive director, and Operations Director J. Michael Watkins resigned at the end of March. Habitat's board president, Jeff Morelock, would not say Wednesday what led to the resignations or comment on local media reports that the resignations were connected to an audit performed in early March.
"Any personnel issues are a private matter between those two individuals and Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland," said Morelock. As a nonprofit organization, Habitat does not fall under Tennessee's open records law.
"We have agreed as a board to not discuss this matter in public," Morelock said. "We are trying to move forward and questions like this do not allow us to move on."
Asked if he would give Carlson a recommendation for a new position, Morelock said the question hasn't come up.
Habitat issued a news release Tuesday saying Carlson addressed the board "a final time on March 31," but it did not state what he said nor did it indicate his future plans.
Carlson could not be reached for comment.
The board praised Carlson's service to Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland in the release, citing the affiliate's recognition by Habitat for Humanity International for its "growth, fiscal stability and programming" under the former director's leadership.
The board's executive committee, comprised of its four chief officers, will serve as interim leadership and begin the search process for the next director, Morelock said.
A financial director may be in place within a couple of weeks, he said.
Two other Habitat board members also declined to speak about the situation.
Shawn McKay, financial director for the city of Cleveland, and Cameron Fisher, coordinator of communications and Internet ministries for Church of God International Offices, both said that Morelock would speak for Habitat regarding the leadership transition.
However, Fisher did offer some comments when questioned about how the leadership transition might be perceived by the public.
"I will say that we feel ready to move forward and that we have reached a good outcome at the end," he said. "I don't think this has damaged Habitat at all. You have to expect some upturns and downturns."
The leadership changes have had no impact on current build projects and programming, Morelock said.
Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.