THE HEALTH DEPT RELEASED THIS STATEMENT LATE THIS AFTERNOON: "Please be advised that the meeting scheduled for tonight, January 17, 2013, has been cancelled due to a quorum." In reality there was a lack of a quorum, since two of two of the five have yet to be appointed and a third was ill.
In the past year, many residents have written to Bloomfield's Town Council and Board Of Health regarding controversial decisions including the mass firing of volunteers, "temporarily" moving Memphis the dog to South Dakota, and merging the Animal Shelter with the Neighbor to Neighbor Network. This year has added the new issues of water toxins and a flu epidemic. Two of the Board's five members have yet to learn if they're being re-appointed.
Tonight's 6:30PM meeting in the Mayor's Conference Room may begin to deal with the issues raised in the following letter by the founder of Shelter Showcase, Beth Mersten Cruz:
January 17 2013
Mayor, Council, Board of Health and Media,
There is much discussion lately on the future of the management of the Bloomfield shelter.
Should the township continue to run the shelter as is? It seems this isn’t palatable to any of the players involved due to the many controversies and allegations of mismanagement, wrongful termination of employees and volunteers and much more.
The Board of Health seems to be seriously interested in turning the shelter over to the Neighbor to Neighbor Network (NTNN), even without properly putting out an RFP for bid. The Mayor rightfully seems to have concerns about the NTNN running the shelter, as it seems he doesn’t want the charity’s reputation tarnished by controversy over the shelter. This is a valid concern since conflicts of interest have already caused the charity to enter into contracts with the Board of Health that were clearly unbalanced and potentially mismanagement of assets, breach of fiduciary duties and self-dealing.
Other viable options include putting out an RFP for shelter management, or keeping the shelter managed by the Township but moving it out of the hands of the Board of Health. It is possible to manage the shelter without major controversy. Shelter management may never be without disagreement, but intense controversy and disasters can be avoided.
The standards requested by residents and other concerned individuals are relatively simple and include the following policies: a welcoming and well-managed volunteer program including a foster program, 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 and working cooperatively with other local shelters to save lives.
Our township can have a model shelter program serving our town if the Mayor and Town Council support the above mentioned policies and ensure the opportunity for effective shelter management to implement best practices with respect and kindness to our citizens and animals.
Please let me know if and when I can help you in any way.
Beth Mersten Cruz, President and Founder
Shelter Showcase :: Adopt love, don't buy it!