In a two-minute meeting yesterday at high noon, Morristown-Hamblen Humane Society president Christine Coley announced the results of the recent special election for eight members of the Humane Society Board of Directors.
Newly-elected members of the Humane Society Board of Directors are: Susan Allen and Dr. Daniel Parks (one-year term); Dr. Michael Bratton, Bette Crawford, and Diane Lovejoy (two-year term); and Robin Robinson, Judy Stockard, and Susan Widener (three-year term).
It was a clean sweep for the eight new members as incumbents/those nominated by the prior board's nominating committee were defeated: Larry Baker, Christine Coley, Ruth Frederick, Diane Fox, Charlotte Long, Wally Long, Eddie Davis, and Frank McGuffin.
A number of issues loom before the eight new Board members who will be joining the full Board.
The Humane Society has had numerous financial issues over the past years, including alleged employee embezzlement and failure to maintain worker's compensation insurance. These problems resulted in substantial loss/reduction of available operating monies.
In addition to the above problems, there was the recent hiring of former Board member Larry Baker's friend as Director--an individual with lots of baggage who never should have been proposed or hired as the face of the Humane Society. This individual may decide to pack up and leave/resign with the election of the new Board members.
Hopefully, there will be a smooth transition to a new Board that is accountable, that operates in a fiscally transparent manner, that works vigorously to promote low-cost spay and neuter clinics, that encourages local adoption as well as rescue adoption, and that supports fostering and volunteer activities.
The Humane Society receives its primary funding from the City and County governments--about $270,000 total per year.
An all-out effort to get the Humane Society back on track in caring for the animals of this community is needed. The new Board has a great opportunity--and many challenges--in front of it.