Friday, January 25, 2013

Shelter Show Case

The handwriting was on the wall when word got out that a phone and email campaign was being made by Bloomfield Animal Shelter to it's long adoption list. It was also clear from the signup sheet for the public comment section of Tuesday's council meeting. What stood out is that nearly all the 8+ signatures were clearly written by the same hand. It was also clear from the numerous professionally printed black and blue signs held by the Shelter staffers sitting in front of the council room.

Further back in the room were shelter manager, Kathleen Gregorovich, Karen Lore, and BOH members, Joel Elkins and Kathleen DeMarino. All the comments can be seen and heard online. Their shared message was that the Shelter was being perfectly managed, but could only survive by being merged with the Neighbor to Neighbor Network.

Beth Mersten Cruz and myself were the only speakers present to offer any rebuttal. The leader of the fundraising committee felt the need to interrupt her more than once and plead with the Mayor for a re-rebuttal -- without success.
For an odd variety of reasons, there was no online press coverage of the meeting. The Board of Ed Meeting that night was considered more important for coverage by Bloomfield Life and The Patch. The Independent Press covered it, but has reduced it's online presence. The Baristanet correspondant's car broke down. More comments on the issues raised can be found on the very active Facebook pages of Citizens of Bloomfield and Save the Bloomfield/Bukowski Shelter.
Beth sent out the following note after the meeting"

Mayor and Town Council: 
Thank you for your time during the public comment section of today’s council meeting. It is abundantly clear, yet again, that people in our town and surrounding areas really care about the animals and the shelter. To avoid future controversies and to ensure quality shelter management and care for the animals, I respectfully request the RFP to clearly state the requirements expected of the agency providing shelter management. 
Some requirements should include a welcoming and well-managed volunteer program, a foster program, the transfer of animals to rescue whenever possible, investigation of acts of cruelty and other misconduct, keeping Petfinder and similar type listings up to date, treating employees fairly, providing timely veterinary care, working cooperatively with other local shelters to save lives, and continued “no-kill” status with less than 2% “euthanasia” rate. Key performance indicators (KPI) should be defined for all required services. 
I also ask the Township to clarify in advance how the outsourced service provider will be overseen by the town and how complaints will be handled. The agency should provide reports with clear metrics to the Township. There must also be a process to escalate complaints to the Township and follow up with the service provider when needed. These management tools of reporting and problem resolution are critical to ensure the requirements listed in the RFP are indeed being provided to the town, and issues can be resolved quickly without long-term controversy.  
 I have previously listed numerous issues in the past year related to the BOH’s oversight of the shelter’s management and refusals to comply with the Town Council’s requests. Please consider appointing fresh faces to the BOH and/or changing the BOH from autonomous to elected. 
 Thank you, Beth Mersten Cruz Shelter Showcase

Lore has managed NtNN for 12 years until her resignation last month. She always maintained that the NtNN's mission has been to provide volunteers "to fill in service gaps in the township's behalf." The question remains how NtNN can continue it's mission with the Shelter which has adopted a policy of firing its most experienced volunteers and turning away nearly all prospective recruits.  The shelter issue is once again on the official agenda for this Monday's council meeting.

1 comment:

jeanh said...

something here really stinks. cant put my finger just on it but is smells of double dipping and double talk and cover ups. and the dogs and cats of the shelter are going to pay dearly for all of this political dancing.