Karen Walsh: I’m sorry, but it will be fairly easy to replace you. I've listed the few things I've observed as a volunteer at the center in three years about what a director at McKamey Animal Center should do or be:
Background and experience in veterinary medicine and welfare
Helps improve legislation for animal welfare
Understands community needs as relates to animal welfare
Educates the community they serve
Knows how to write effective grants*
Knows where to apply to for grants*
Applies for grants already available*
Knows how to tap resources that are available for animal welfare
Knows the law, and able to represent the center and stand for endangered animals in court
Well-spoken in all areas of the media
Understands the importance of social media and has staff utilize it
Open door policy, welcoming staff and volunteers
Works well with others
Ethical in personal life and public life
Delicately balances work with animals and home life, children and their friends, husband and other commitments to the home.
Understands budgets and funds available
Makes sure staff is in place to keep accurate records, and welcomes checks and balances as well to keep them accurate
Able to get an organization out of debt ($400,000) in 3 years or less, and therefore able to keep it out of debt
Knows how to cultivate relationships benefiting the organization and welcomes them
Provides supports for staff in work life
Provides opportunities and expects staff to attend conferences that will improve their skill sets and provides organization funds for those conferences
Celebrates the accomplishments of others
Provides free or reduced cost services to community when funds are available*
Respected as a Woman of Distinction in Chattanooga
Able to run the organization in such a way as to cause it to be named “Non-profit of the Year” by the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce
Puts animal welfare first, expecting legislation to be in place or to quickly follow
Cultivates team philosophy in the organization
Troubleshoots and works to solve problems rather than complaining
Diffuses stressful situations
Works in all departments at the center, and various other venues around Chattanooga—not just at their desk
Involves the organization in caring for seized animals of hoarders, or natural disasters here in Chattanooga and regionally
Petsmart Charities is fortunate to have you on their team.
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I also mourn the loss of Karen Walsh from McKamey. If the supporters of McKamey knew all the background and those behind the smearing of her name, the McKamey board and that of a great Chattanooga organization, they would be disgusted with their city leadership.
Chattanooga's loss is PetSmart's gain.
Councilman Larry Grohn
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Councilman Grohn is on target.
At one time or another many agencies with volunteer boards will be faced with the problem of a board member who creates discord on the board, and within the agency, by employing false, unwarranted, irrational and self-serving accusations and arguments, while simultaneously demonizing their clearly defined enemies on the board and among the agency staff, all to justify their own personal agenda.
When you combine that with an administration who is enabling that board member, it is truly a perfect storm with unfortunate implications for the professional and respected members of the McKamey board; for the hardworking and dedicated staff and volunteers of the McKamey Center; and, for the citizens of Chattanooga who have lost a truly exceptional and nationally recognized visionary executive director in Karen Walsh.
The facts are already coming to light and the perpetrators will be exposed in their hypocrisy, but even then when the facts speak for themselves, I think we, the taxpayers and voters, will see those perpetrators scurrying to weave elaborate and contrived rationalizations and denials in an effort to get out their self-justifying political spin, leaving lasting harm to the institutions they have sworn to serve.
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There's a lot that could be said about an administration that would seek to insert itself in the board affairs of a private, non-profit agency over whom they have no oversight, and it's all bad. As I understand it, the McKamey Animal Center has a contract with and is a service provider for the city of Chattanooga for animal control. That doesn't allow the administration to dictate to a private agency who their executive director should be or how they should run their business, or to insert themselves into the affairs of their board by supporting the unfounded accusations of a rogue board member. If a contracting agency has demonstrated they cannot do the job, the city may choose another agency to handle the contract.
The McKamey Animal Center, however, is doing an exemplary job for the citizens of Chattanooga and that's proven by the other cities who frequently send delegations here to study McKamey. The city did an abominable job in animal care and control when it was a city function, euthanizing over 80 percent of the animals they took in. Now that Ms. Walsh has given the city something to be proud of, they run her off.
Be careful what you seek to achieve in trying to have government run animal care and control. You just might get the chance to fail, again.