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Later this year, Mayor Greg Fischer will name a new director of Louisville Metro Animal Services. The director will be the fourth person in two years to lead the agency, and the second person to not have the title preceded by ‘interim.’

Fischer told the Courier-Journal he’s determined not to overlook anything as the city conducts background checks of every applicant for the position. Fischer is looking to avoid a repeat of the last few years, when previous director Gilles Meloche (who was found after a national search) stepped down amid accusations of mistreating animals and harassing employees. After Meloche, Wayne Zelinsky was named interim director. He stepped down last week after The Ville Voice uncovered a business Zelinsky and his wife were running. The business promotes adult entertainment.

MetroSafe deputy director Debbie Fox is now leading LMAS. She will serve until a permanent director is appointed.

After first naming the committee that will search for a new health director, Mayor Greg Fischer has appointed the members of two more committees. The latest panels will oversee the review of Metro Animal Services and the search for a new director.

From the Mayor’s office:

The six-person committee to conduct the performance review includes:

  • Allison Woosley, a CPA and animal advocate
  • Lindsy Wallace, Director of Operations for the Kentucky Humane Society
  • Karen Little, Alley Cat Advocates
  • Dr. Lee Hankins, veterinarian at Springhurst Animal Hospital
  • Mike Norman, Auditor, Louisville Metro Government
  • Jim Brammell, Chief Engineer, Louisville Water Company and member of SPOT Fund

The eight-person committee to conduct a national search for a new director includes:

  • Sadiqa Reynolds, Chief of Community Building for Mayor Fischer
  • Lori Redmon, Kentucky Humane Society
  • David Hall, Floyd County/New Albany Animal Control and Shelter
  • Terri Cardwell, business owner and member of SPOT Fund
  • Patti Swope, business executive and animal advocate
  • Kellie Watson, Director of Human Resources, Louisville Metro Government
  • Jessica Reid, No Kill Louisville
  • Police Chief Robert White or his designee

Once the search committee narrows its list to six finalists, a separate review team will provide additional input and narrow the list to three, which it will recommend to the Mayor. That review team includes:

  • Sharon Mays, Shamrock Society
  • Bunny Zeller, Animal Care Society
  • Ellen Cullinan, citizen and volunteer
  • Donna Herzig, Louisville Kennel Club
  • Metro Council Member Kelly Downard
  • Metro Council Member Tina Ward-Pugh

Council members Kelly Downard and Tina Ward-Pugh were likely among the clearest choices for the final group. Both were active in questioning former director Gilles Meloche whenever he appeared in the council.

 

It wasn’t mentioned on State of Affairs Friday (no time), but there has been an update to the Louisville Metro Animal Services story, courtesy of LEO.

Mayor Greg Fischer has launched a review of Louisville Metro Animal Services and a search for a new director for the agency.

Here is the WFPL story. And here is the full audio of Fischer’s remarks. He began the discussion with the press with an overview of his first week in office (mp3).

LEO Weekly has covered this issue extensively. Here is the latest.

Here is a letter from an LMAS employee. The employees have been speaking to the media on the condition of anonymity, often because they fear retaliation from superiors. Councilman Kelly Downard says the investigation will give them a chance to talk openly. He said it’s like coming to the end of long, dark cave. Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh has also been outspoken on this issue. Like Downard, she is praising Fischer’s call for a review. Here are the councilmembers’ full statements:

“The problems at Metro Animal Services have gone on for too long. I thank Mayor Fischer for taking quick action to address this issue and begin a thorough review of the practices and policies at Metro Animal Services. I look forward to supporting Mayor Fischer, as we work to make Louisville MAS the best run organization in the country.” – Kelly Downard, Past Chair of the Metro Council’s Government Accountability and Oversight Committee

“I commend the Mayor for this action. For to long there have been too many questions about operations, policies and practices of LMAS. The Metro Council has spent much time and effort to help LMAS with new ordinances and funding for facilities but concerns persist. Those of us in this community who love and care for animals want to make sure we and the people who take care of animals are doing the right thing. I am ready to assist in any way possible and I look forward to seeing the final results of the mayor’s action.” – Tina Ward Pugh, Chair of the Metro Council’s Government Accountability and Oversight Committee

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