Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Takeaway on Lore's Takeover Plans

I wasn't at the 6PM Conference Meeting on Monday in the Mayor's conference room, but Karen Lore reportedly showed up and said nothing. Then stayed for the closed session at the end -- presumably to make her case for her Neighbor to Neighbor Network's plan for taking over the Bloomfield Animal Shelter.

Over half of the subsequent Town Council Meeting, at 7:30PM, was taken up by public comments regarding what we knew of the plan. ALL of them were critical of Lore's recent actions. There was one written comment and about 8 others by folks who ALL chose to speak out on issues that were raised at last week's Board of Health meeting. The video of both meetings is now available for streaming on the WBMA-TV website.  Public Comments start at the 59 minute mark. Here is the gist of my comments:
Like a few other Neighbor to Neighbor Network volunteers,  I applied for both the shelter and neighbor to neighbor at the same time. I was told in February that the shelter was suspending volunteer applications for a few months. This was shortly before the mass firing of dozens of the most experienced volunteers.
I've since learned from one of them that she saw about 75 applications ripped up and trashed.
At about the same time, a convicted felon was retained and promoted despite evidence of serious crimes and a falsified resume.
Why were so many experienced Shelter volunteers fired? My best guess is that most of them tended to to work along  side each other and saw and knew too much about such improprieties. On the other hand, at Neighbor to Neighbor, we work independently of each other and only know the people we help. We sign a nondisclosure statement to protect their privacy. This makes total sense. What doesn't make sense is to not disclose to donors or the township where their money goes.

 At last week's BOH meeting, I asked Ms. Lore specifics about the Board's vote in September to transfer Memphis to Neighbor to Neighbor. What did the Board know about what they were voting on? They stopped me in my tracks by telling me that NtN is a private organization and has nothing to do with the town. I would need to ask them.
Who is "them"?  Lore, Fitzpatrick and Ricci were all sitting in front of me at the time, and clearly knew all the answers. Lore claimed to be wearing her BOH Board Secretary hat at the time. 
Thankfully, Mimi Michalski was there to report on the meeting for Baristanet. I learned from Mimi's article the later in the meeting, Lore put on her Shelter Director or NTNN hat, (I'm not sure which) and made a general update on what has happened with Memphis since the September meeting 
It was also disclosed that she is apparently negotiating with herself to have NtNN take over the shelter. Will that mean the town no longer has any say in Shelter policies either?
Bear in mind that the town website has several links to NtN info. my NtN directives come from the Human Services office in room 231 of Town Hall. The emails come from a town email address. Phone calls usually come from the town switchboard. 
And yet Ms Lore has reportedly bragged that she is accountable to no one.
 In the 19th century, Lord Acton first spoke what has become a truism that "power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely." Whatever happens with her negotiation with herself to put the shelter entirely under her control, any lawsuits lost because of her continued poor judgement will still probably have to be covered by the deepest pockets around. Won't that be our town and it's taxpayers?
The next conference meeting is scheduled for Monday in the Mayor's Conference Room.

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