Conn Humane Society President Quits Under Fire, New Chairman Named

March 23, 2010
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Three months after CtWatchdog began publishing accusations of wrongdoing against the full-time president and chairman of the board of the Connecticut Humane Society, Richard Johnston has resigned under tremendous pressure.

Facing investigation by the state attorney general and OSHA, Johnston Monday quit his $100,000-plus job that he had held for 20 years. Both the state and federal investigations were launched as the result of CtWatchdog columns.

The former state legislator, lawyer and real estate agent had been accused by present and former staff of bullying and harassing workers he didn’t like, forcing the euthanasia of many animals because not enough staff was available despite tens of millions of dollars in the bank, firing those who voted for a union, and abusing his own animals.

He also closed two shelters in Stamford and Bethany to save expenses, forcing tiny shelters with little funds to care of thousands of animals.

Former CHS workers and volunteers celebrate the resignation of Richard Johnston with cake and Champagne. In the middle is Cathy DeMarco, the New Britain woman who spearheaded the effort to have Johnston removed. Gombossy photo.

Up until this weekend, his hand-selected board, half of whom received money directly or for their businesses for services provided to the Newington-based society, defended Johnston and their own stewardship of one of the oldest and best-known charities in the state.

The person most responsible for Johnston’s ouster is New Britain teacher’s aide Cathy DeMarco, who, after working for a few months last summer at CHS, organized workers, brought a union in, convinced me to begin an investigation, and convinced employees to provide me with signed statements that I could turn over to authorities.

Johnston – who supposedly had been on medical leave for the past three weeks – resigned Monday afternoon, according to a press release from his organization today. Since I began publishing accusations against Johnston on Jan. 5, Johnston has refused to comment directly on any of the allegations, but through a spokeswoman denied any wrongdoing and threatened to sue me and his accusers for libel.

“After giving 24 years of dedicated service to the Connecticut Humane Society and its Fox Memorial Pet Hospital, all with an emphasis on saving life and creating state-of-the-art pet shelters, pet home sanctuaries, and medical facilities, all to the purpose of compassionately housing pets and medically treating them when necessary, I have decided to go on to other philanthropic pursuits,” Johnston said in a prepared statement.

“Over the years I have approached both my job and the mission of the Connecticut Humane Society with absolute integrity, fairness, professionalism, and moving to the ultimate goal of having every place for every unwanted animal through a non-kill approach. I have attained the important legislative goals of the establishment of including pets in estate planning with Pet Trusts, a state mandate to include our pets in disaster response planning, and the protection of wildlife and important state and regional heritage sites through the protection of our dwindling spaces. I have sincerely tried to speak consistently for every animal in our state as they cannot speak for themselves.”

Johnston concluded: “I wish all of the best to the dedicated employees, volunteers and supporters of both organizations as our world needs, more than ever, the Society’s mission of ‘promoting humanity and kindness.’ Thank you for your kind support over the years, and may God bless you.”

The press release also said “The Board accepted Johnston’s resignation as Executive Director and from the Board of Directors by acknowledging his many years of dedicated service, and thanking him for his commitment to the 129 year-old charitable institution. The Board particularly noted his service to the people and animals of New Orleans during his leadership of a disaster response team during the immediate two weeks following Hurricane Katrina.”

“The Board of Directors has taken steps to ensure a smooth transition at the conclusion of Johnston’s tenure. Chief Financial Officer Raymond Gasecki was appointed Acting Executive Director, and Fox Memorial Clinic Director Joanne Freeman was named Acting Assistant Executive Director.”

Board member Christopher White was elected president of the board of directors of the Connecticut Humane Society and president of the board of directors of the Fox Memorial Clinic. White is also the publisher of Hartford Magazine and Life newspapers in central Connecticut. His publications have received more than $30,000 in advertising from the society.

“Our first order of business was to form a Personnel Committee comprised of members of both Boards, to begin the search for a new Executive Director,” White said. “We expect the process to take 4-6 months, but in the meantime we are very well served by Ray and Joanne, who are both dedicated and caring individuals who are committed to continuing the great work of the Connecticut Humane Society.”

The following is a press release from the “Coalition for Change” that was organized by DeMarco:

The Coalition for Change, a group of more than 150 current and former Connecticut Humane Society employees, volunteers, and other concerned citizens, has issued its response to the announcement that Richard Johnston has resigned from the Connecticut Humane Society.

Cathy DeMarco, a former CHS employee who was instrumental in the formation of the Coalition, said of today’s development, “Johnston’s departure is a victory for both the animals and the employees at the Connecticut Humane Society. His management practices were causing a steady decline at what was once one of the most respected charities in our state. It’s time for CHS to start righting a long list of wrongs.”

The Coalition for Change came together in mid-2009 to address increasing worries among Connecticut Humane Society employees that the organization was deteriorating at a rapid pace. Individual reports of mistreatment and abuse of employees by Richard Johnston stretched back for years, but the group had become particularly concerned that bad management was starting to negatively impact the animals. The shelters were understaffed, which meant employees often did not have adequate time to socialize animals with behavior problems. Those animals, in turn, were more likely to be euthanized. Managers also reported that they were compelled by Johnston to move animals through the building quickly to keep the number of animals “handled” high.

After the Coalition came together, the employees decided to enlist the help of a union to protect them while they worked to improve conditions for the animals at the society. In December 2009, the employees voted 18-15 to join the Machinists’ Union (IAMAW). Johnston contested the vote, and subsequently fired several employees for participating in union activities. On Jan. 7, 2010, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced that he has begun an investigation into allegations of financial improprieties at the Connecticut Humane Society.

The coalition called a press conference on Jan. 20 to make a public statement about its concerns over the management of the Connecticut Humane Society. At that time, they called for the removal of Johnston from his position as the president, executive director, and chairman of the board of the organization.

“It has always been our position that Richard Johnston was the one primarily responsible for the many problems at the Connecticut Humane Society,” said Maureen Lord, spokesperson for the Coalition for Change. “Because he served as both the Executive Director and the Chairman of the Board, he basically supervised himself. That allowed him to get away with practices that were at least questionable, for far too long.”

“We hope the Board of Directors will continue to keep our concerns in mind during this transition period,” said DeMarco. “Johnston’s resignation certainly moves the organization much closer to where it needs to be, but we have to learn from history. The Board needs to put safeguards in place so no one can come in and exercise unchecked power, particularly for their own gain. Positive change at the Connecticut Humane Society starts today.”

The Connecticut Humane Society is one of Connecticut’s oldest and most prominent charitable organizations. It is headquartered in Newington, with satellite shelters operating in Westport and Waterford. For more information about the efforts of the Coalition for Change, visit www.coalitionforchange.info.

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39 Responses to Conn Humane Society President Quits Under Fire, New Chairman Named

  1. Concerned Citizen on March 23, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    Can we start a petition to bring Maureen Lord back to CHS??? She was the heart and soul of business operations there. Chris White, now that you are in charge, you should immediately correct this, Maureen did not deserve to be a victim of circumstance. And while I am on a mini-rant, the Coalition does not need to relax at this point or celebrate RJ’s departure. He simply resigned under obvious need to save his hide, the CHS Board was defending him to the bitter end. They did nothing to have him removed. This is no time to stop, the Board also needs to be investigated further and rotated out.

    • Also a Volunteer on March 23, 2010 at 2:17 pm

      I agree…but that won’t stop me from popping a bottle of champagne later 😉

    • Lynzee & Malfoy on March 23, 2010 at 8:14 pm

      We can not forget all of the people who lost their jobs due to the poor management that was and still may be the the CHS. What is going to happen to the people who were let go for things that were not directed to the union activities thus can not be compensated for their job loss? Even though we all know it was because of their support with the union. These people should not be forgotten and left to fend for themselves. Jobs and not easy to find now and these people unjustly lost theirs. Is there anything that can be done for them?

    • A Volunteer on March 24, 2010 at 10:59 am

      Lets give the board the benefit of the debt and a little time to change things for the better. It’s a clean (or cleaner) slate post-RJ. Besides, the board’s official position is just that, it doesn’t mean that they all personally buy into teh RJ myth. They have to present a united front – leadership 101.

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on March 25, 2010 at 8:16 am

      I’m not sure I agree here. We have no inside knowledge of what went on in any of these meetings. I tend to think that the board may have tried to save CHS from any more scrutiny and rather said…Hey RJ, step down, we won’t have to “remove” you. We agree to “support” you and you just walk away so we can start the rebuilding. Otherwise, CHS gets put under the microscope. Maureen’s name had been mentioned by RJ himself that if anything ever happened to him, he’d appoint her at President. I’m sure the board members have been privvy to that information.

  2. Ally on March 23, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    Congrats to all who stood for animals rights and refused to buckle under anti-union behavior. This is a rare victory for both causes. Without having intimate knowledge, except for these very informative thorough articles, it sounds like the fight is not over. Hey if the dems and Obama can reform health care, so too can this organization be reformed!

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on March 25, 2010 at 8:19 am

      You are right, the fight is not over. While the wicked witch might be gone, his reign of terror was carried out by the manager’s so now we find out what they are made of. They need to step up and make positive changes and be the leaders not the followers.

      • DC on March 25, 2010 at 7:36 pm

        The coalition is so caught up in there mud slinging they haven’t even notice the positive changes that have already been made! It’s not about you!

        • Mayor Of Dogtown on March 25, 2010 at 8:36 pm

          Well maybe after all the years of mud slinging by the management it’s time to do some serious mud wrestling.

          I assume you are on the staff there somewhere and if you SERIOUSLY think that the way the managers manage people is good then I really truly feel you need therapy. This is not about “the coaltion”. This is about doing what is right for the animals and those who care for them. Employee’s being railroaded by the Management staff in an organization where it should be the happiest place to work next to Disney…that’s a nice working environment. Were you there when the rule was you can’t be in a room with the door closed because of the paranoia of the president. IN CASE you were talking about him?

          As for the changes you refer to….UMMMM do you NOT think the Coaltion and the Pressure had something if not ALL to do with that?

          The board is listening to FACT not stories such as the Manager’s present. They fabricate things to make them seem true. Don’t worry though, you folks will meet your maker in the long run, the little man with the pitchfork will be up there waiting for you and he will just put you on the BIG magical slide DOWNWARD! For all the animals who’s lives were lost, you will burn in hell. It’s about time people stood up to these monsters , Id love to see a reversal of fortune and treat the manager’s the way they’ve treated fantastic employee’s for so long. Why do you think there has been such monstrous turnover in such a small organization? People who enjoy their job don’t leave even if it is piddle for pay. The ONLY ones with seniority are those who were Johnston’s Henchmen and women.

          The positive changes that are happening are great…but do you HONESTLY think they would have happened without pressure. Johnstons reign of terror doesn’t allow for changes, for people to have ideas, for new things to happen. It remains business as usual.

          The GREATEST accomplishment right now is that the dogs are getting play time. I’ve been pushing ideas like this for two years and never got anywhere. It was always, we don’t have time for that, there’s a liability here bleh bleh bleh…I see video’s on YOUTUBE of these dogs getting to have some playgroup time, it’s freaking fabulous. It’s a no brainer, why did it have to be such a ridiculous road to travel to make this happen?

          Other positive changes? Hmmm oh yeah, hiring a bunch of people…but in order to do that you had to fire a bunch of union supporters, this way….you can influence the newbies to vote the union out next year which is fine, the union won’t need to stay as long as things get better but the sad truth is….you’ve lost a great bunch of people and if you don’t HONESTLY see that then you didn’t deserve to know these people.

          Just remember that if the place was being run properly, there would have been no need for a union.

          • OMD on March 25, 2010 at 11:24 pm

            DC if it weren’t for the coalition speaking up! The positive things happening wouldn’t even be going on. It was a long time coming! By the way it’s all about the animals as stated several times before! Inocent animals lives shouldn’t have been sacrificed to make the numbers. A particular shouldn’t put dog because someone had a hair across their ass. Or starved so they could fail a test. A dog wouldnt be tested until it settle in the shelter rather fail and be put down by someone with no experience what so ever. Staff is still being punished because they think people are involved. It’s worse than romper room.

          • Mer on March 26, 2010 at 9:25 am

            I just want to reiterate that even Johnston’s $1000/hour lawyer admitted that rarely under such conditions are unions brought in because of money. They are brought in because of working conditions.

            So again, the coalition and resulting union activity are not mud slinging acts of selfishness. They were reasonable, legal, steps to effectuate change. Not exactly a slander suit waiting to happen.

  3. last straw on March 23, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Just heartfelt thanks to all those who worked so hard and sacrificed a lot to bring this about. All the animals should get extra treats tonight!!

  4. Jan Kozlowski on March 23, 2010 at 5:21 pm

    It’s a good day for CT animals and animal lovers. Tremendous thanks to Cathy, Maureen, George and everyone else who had the courage to step forward and share their experiences and concerns.

  5. SoSAD on March 23, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    This truly is a good day indeed. However, changes to the way things are run with the current management still need to be addressed. An organization run well is with people that respect one another. The managers, Kitty, Elizabeth need to either relax or go. I feel and see so much stress around them. They are holding back a good organization that should be thriving because of what the founder had intended. Working for them is inhumane because they don’t know how to really smile or relate to people. They are tyrants and back stabbers and need some management traiining. They are just not cut out for the position. Hire new.

    • Blessed to be a Former Employee on March 23, 2010 at 8:23 pm

      I agree…out with the old and in with the new! The managers that supported Richard were cowards, lack good leadership skills and all have aggressive personalities. CHS will still have a toxic environment unless changes continue. Richard’s resignation is certainly an excellent start but the Board has some cleaning up to do! And yes, I also agree with Concerned Citizen…bring back those that were unlawfully fired. IT’S THE RIGHT THING TO DO!

  6. One More Volunteer on March 23, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Congratulations to Maureen and everyone else who participated to make this happen. Today is a time to celebrate!!!

    Tomorrow is the time to look to the future. The Board should involve animal welfare experts and experienced quality management experts in the processes of developing qualifications for, and hiring, the new executive director. The Coalition should be in touch with Christopher White to make sure this happens.

    Also, everyone who reads this should make sure the solicitation for applications is send far and wide so as to increase the pool of top flight applicants. One possibility is to solicit the executive directors of extremely well-run animal welfare organizations that are smaller than CHS.

  7. Gioia on March 23, 2010 at 8:51 pm

    Ding dong, the warlock’s dead.

    Typical of rj, he probably spent the 3 weeks of medical leave (yeah, right) writing and fine-tuning his prepared press statements regarding his departure. Same old spin from the master of spin.

    No time to revel in this victory, albeit a great one at that. There is still the matter of the unchecked BOD and master puppets. Clean house as much as you can, those of you who are left and still have the stomach for it. The puppets won’t easily give up their entitlements, even with the head of the snake on a platter.

    • Darkside on March 23, 2010 at 11:04 pm

      Too funny! I remember in the past HIS medical leave was being away in some tropical paradise. Everything was such a mystery! Congratulations on the persistent and brave efforts of the Coalition! I wish everyone well and hope there’s a new beginning for CHS! I’m sure it would have been fun to stick around but it was just too crazy for me!:)

  8. Chow Rescuer on March 23, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    I never thought this day would really come. Yay! I never thought RJ would ever just resign, and I don’t believe it now. Does anyone believe he is the kind of man just to walk away? Their had to be huge pressure on him from the BOD. I talked to a few BOD members last month and they were really responsive and listened and asked me lots of questions. I think they mean well and this is proof of it. They deserve the benefit of the doubt. Now lets see some REAL change for the good!

  9. Mayor Of Dogtown on March 23, 2010 at 10:44 pm

    To the board of Director’s…..The staff, former staff, volunteer’s and former volunteers BUT MOSTLY THE ANIMALS thank you for stepping up and giving them a voice. They come to CHS for a shot at a better life and sadly a LOT of them ended up losing their lives. Chris White, congrat’s on your new position and I know that with the right people in place, CHS will once again reign supreme when it comes to private charities. One big piece of the puzzle has been taken out……still some serious work ahead to straighten things out but we will take it one step at a time.

  10. OMD on March 23, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Good Coalition! You have done the impossible. Thank all of you that for making this happened! Without your dedication & sacrafices this would not have happened. I am glad that Board of Director has listen and I thank them for their investigation. I hope that they will make the right decision in finding the new President. As well as continue to investigate and take care of the rest of the issues that need to be addressed, your job has only just begun.

  11. We need you on March 24, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Yesterday was great — but notice that the new Chairman of the Board (who will be in charge of picking the new director) was quoted in the Courant this morning, saying that most of the accusations were either exaggerated or outright lies. So how is he going to change what he won’t even acknowledge? I hope he’ll do the right things. But if he still can’t see that the problems were real, that’s not a great first sign.

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on March 25, 2010 at 8:28 am

      This could have been part of the agreement for RJ to step down. Perhaps the board said, step down and we won’t drag your ass thru the mud like you are setting yourself up for. If CHris White truly believes that most if not all of our allegations are false, he will get more and more proof as their job is not done. Their job as board members is going to keep them from their families and take up more of their time because the coalition is not going to lie down now that RJ is gone. We are not going away and we hear things and see things and will keep it very well monitored. When the union gets certified, you just watch the grievances start to pile up on the managers.

      • Mer on March 25, 2010 at 11:01 am

        Not running RJs name through the mud is not the same as saying the allegations were lies.

        The Board made RJ their sacrifical lamb. In order to do so they $imply had to make it more attractive for him to leave than to $tay.

        Don’t get me wrong, gone is gone and it’s a great first step. Just removing the reign of terror will make people enable to do their jobs well and without the constant bullying and anxiety.

        I did want to say, it’s my understanding that the Board has been EXTREMELY responsive to the recent concerns of volunteers and staff and is making an effort to be more communicative than they have in the past.

        While I think everything surrounding RJ’s perpetual exception to the rules is suspect, I’ll give the Board credit for working toward positive change at CHS.

  12. BunnyWhisperer on March 24, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    I’d like to thank the coalition for all that they have done. I cried when I read that RJ had stepped down I was so happy.
    Regrettably this is only the first step, but as they say, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I think those thousand miles will be well worth it!

  13. anony_mouse on March 24, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Has he given his car back? Or is that part of his severence? Has he stopped using the company credit card? And, if he has been on medical leave for three weeks, has he used the card within that time? (that would pretty much prove ever allegation against him; he can’t be “only using it for company business” if he isn’t working) Will he give it back? If the Board believes that Richard’s severence package is fair and deserved, in light of how much he is alleged to have profited over the decades, would they be willing to give a copy of it to George Gombossy? And, if any other employee has to give a full month’s notice before quitting in order to get their vacation time paid out, will he get his, or lose it?

    • Mayor Of Dogtown on March 25, 2010 at 8:24 am

      Are you kidding me? YOu had to give a MONTH’s notice to quit a 9 dollar an hour job? Corporate America’s typical notice is two weeks but to feed animals and clean up their poop, you need a month’s notice? It just shows how bad things are there.

      I don’t care what he got for a package deal to get him out personally. He is gone and it’s a new dawn, a new day….a new chance for the animals to have a better shot at a better life.

  14. Mayor Of Dogtown on March 25, 2010 at 8:22 am

    While there is a victory to celebrate, the work is hardly done. United we stand and we can make a difference. When everyone else said, you cannot win this one, we didn’t let them stop the march. I have heard some things in the first 24 hours already that lead me to believe these manager’s are going to hang themselves because of bad decisions and bad people skills. The Union will EAT you for lunch people. We will gladly enjoy the meal by the way. So remember that Big Brother is watching. It might be time for the fallen five….Maureen, Bridget, Amanda, Ron and Lynn to have a little seminar with the CHS managers on how to file for unemployment!!!!!

  15. Mayor Of Dogtown on March 25, 2010 at 8:36 am

    This deeply disturbs me about his statement to the press…

    “Over the years I have approached both my job and the mission of the Connecticut Humane Society with absolute integrity, fairness, professionalism, and moving to the ultimate goal of having every place for every unwanted animal through a non-kill approach. I have attained the important legislative goals of the establishment of including pets in estate planning with Pet Trusts, a state mandate to include our pets in disaster response planning, and the protection of wildlife and important state and regional heritage sites through the protection of our dwindling spaces. I have sincerely tried to speak consistently for every animal in our state as they cannot speak for themselves.”

    A Non kill approach? Are you serious? Did u ever spend any time in Ward 4? At times the line for euthansia was longer than the first day of flu shots.

    Professionalism? As in, I will berate my managers so they will berate the “HELP”….Spending donation money on a disaster relief vehicle and Mobile Adoption bus that SIT IN A PARKING LOT because you don’t want to spend the money for gas that runs those vehicles.

    He is incredulous in his ego. I shake my head in amazement that he can look in the mirror and not see the same things that we all see.

  16. Greyhound lover on April 20, 2010 at 2:03 pm

    So the corruption and crimes against animals still continue at the CHS. Insiders report management is back to their old ways…being bullies and distorting the true mission of the society. What people don’t realize is that Dick Johnston may be gone, but the place is still run by his toadies. These unqualified managers, BOD members-esp the rotten chairman, and executives are the ones calling the shots. Don’t forget Dick hired these people because they would do whatever he said without question, they have no morals or true understanding or concern of what animal care really means. Not to mention they aided and abetted Dick in illegal practices! What is going on here? This is still allowed to happen? Not to mention the new chairmen of the BOD lies to the public on a constant basis.
    The behaviorist, if you can even call her that, has a breed bias. She openly stated that all labs are stupid dogs, plain and simple. She does not like herding breeds at all. She loves pitbulls…that’s about it. Currently she spends ALL her time with a pitbull named Bam Bam that has a bite history. He can’t even be placed through the society due to policy regarding bite history. While there are great dogs like Brady, who are not pitbulls, rotting away in the shelter. Brady has dog aggression…and they want to place him through a rescue. Can you believe that the richest animal organization in the state is looking for some tiny rescue to absorb the financial and behavioral implications this “dog aggressive” canine may incurr. They are unwilling to work with the dog, pay for it’s care, and place it for adoption themselves. The behaviorist does not have time for Brady because…A) he is not a pittbull B) She spends her day working with Bam Bam, a dog with a bite history. Dogs who have bite histories are usually euthanized at CHS. I am not wishing harm on pitbulls, but what goes for pitbulls should then be the standards for all dogs. And finally C) she is too busy trainging dogs to ride skateboards in the hall and watching YouTube than to work with the wonderful begaviorally challenged dogs that aren’t pitbulls at the shelter…Oh and we can’t forget euthanizing dogs after hours so as not to alert the staff…
    People please, do you see what’s going on here? Demand answers, help the coalition expose these crimes, and for pete’s sake don’t listen to Chris Whites lies.

    • Ex Employee on April 20, 2010 at 10:05 pm

      Everthing in the above statement is true. There have been NO positive changes at CHS. More people need to come forward to stop this at once!
      Management is horrible, euthanasia numbers continue to incline, animals still are not getting the proper care. We need to keep fighting the good fight for the animals and the employees who truely care them.

    • JL on April 23, 2010 at 10:47 pm

      Enough is Enough
      1. I have owned Belgian Malinios, and actively done ACD and Malinios rescue (yes both herding breeds, also quite fond of BCs and corgies BTW)
      2. Bam Bam does have a bite history which is why I stepped up and took him home rather then sat back and complained about it. That’s right he leaves with me now.
      3. Bam Bam is a very stable dog with other animals, he has been invaluable to the social success of Jazzy, Princess, Sierra, Petey, Rocket, Roscoe, Oreo, and little Willie. He has smiled in the face of a snarling Brady despite an icey reception.
      4. YouTube? Not worthy of a response.
      5. Brady has had every resource made available to him including a very detailed treatment plan, and a Cert. Applied Animal Behaviorist (FYI people are already refusing to adhere to treatment protocols) If you really care about Brady the help by actively participating in his training and try not to sabotage it by projecting your anthropomorphic baggage on this dog.

      I sure do love my Bully breeds…no doubt. And alot of time is dedicated to their socialization, training, and rehab. The reason for this is that these are the dogs that linger in the shelter for extended periods of time.and require alot of enrichment and training to get them adopted and extend their emotional longevity. I love my herding dogs, chihuahuas, beagle and hounds as much as the next person. I certainly want nothing but the best for any dog in our care. Labs, great dogs, I’d probrably not own one but then again I don’t know of anyone else scrambling to help Bam, Oreo, Sparky, Jazzy, Petey, Misty, Remy, or Terry our slightly crabby Chi-Chi.

      Think about this! You want to bring more resources to animals in our care. Yet you are using the animals saved as amunition AGAINST the people who are working so hard to bring the changes.

      Please try not to suffocate on all the hate that you harbor toward people who have dedicated their lives to the same animals you claim to care about. We too deserve the right to bear witness to the changes and resources that are finally available to animals in our care.

      • Now a former volunteer on April 24, 2010 at 10:25 pm

        Well, where was all this change prior to the Coalition stepping in? That is what I’d like an answer to? Seems like everyone was too busy kissing Johnston’s butt instead of standing UP TO HIM and making change. Change is progress, so before you start saying you folks who are so dedicated to the cause are hero’s, ask yourself why it took a group of people who don’t even work there any longer to CAUSE the CHANGE????

        And by the way, those who were unjustly fired also deserved some rights too, but you folks turned a blind eye to that for the greater good of union busting! Yeah you folks are some great role models alright…..More like Johnston Puppets!

        • JL on April 25, 2010 at 12:01 pm

          None of the managers that I defend think of themselves as heros. Just people who have chosen to stick it out at the shelter to do as much as we can. Certainley more then we could if we had chosen to leave. I do not pass judgement on those who pursue unionization. I simply remind that EVERYONE wants whata best for the animals and there have been MANY positive changes to benifit are animals since this began. Changes that everyone supports in terms of staffing and animal care in enrichment. I believe that everyone deserves the chance to be judge by theit performance under the new management structure.

          • Ex Employee on April 25, 2010 at 4:22 pm

            J.L.,
            Can you list the positive changes that yourself and your fellow managers have brought forth in recent months?

          • Now a former volunteer on April 26, 2010 at 6:02 pm

            JL…If you truly believe that everyone deserves the chance to be judged by their performance….as YOU stated….then how is it that those five employees were fired for things that were made up to fit a mold so they could be fired for union activity without saying it was union activity? Did you step up for those people? Did you say, this is wrong? Did you say, come on folks, this is not what a good manager does? Nope, you turned a blind eye and let five GREAT people go down. Together, they add up to 22 or so years of service. Came in on those holidays to clean and feed the animals when the shelter was closed, came in when it snowed, did their jobs daily but because they wanted fair treatment, they were fired. It amazes me sometimes that these people worked for such minimal money but they did it for the love of the animals in their care.

      • Concerned too on April 26, 2010 at 11:15 pm

        Wait a minute… Why is JL allowed to speak her mind here? From my understanding didn’t a volunteer get fired for writing in here on this site? Why can you do this and get no reprimanding? I know you speak from your heart, but your just stirring up trouble now, why didn’t you speak up months ago? You know right from wrong so get with the program!

        • Old Vol on April 27, 2010 at 10:55 am

          It still cracks me up that a volunteer got “fired” for exercising free speech!! If that doesn’t speak VOLUMES about the type of people running CHS, I don’t know what does! But with that in mind, let J.L. speak her mind and respond to “allegations” made against her, she has every right to do that. The reason she will face no consequences is because she is not AGREEING with any of the negative allegations against CHS, she is defending them. She’ll probably get a raise!

  17. Now a former volunteer on April 27, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    I certainly don’t think it’s a bad thing that JL is voicing her opinion. It opens up for a healthy discussion. She seems to be the only one who has the guts to say anything, everyone else is just hoping all this goes away.

    Concernedtoo does have a good point. How can a “volunteeer” be fired for voicing an opinion. Last time I checked there was such thing as freedom of speech. Oh well, I guess CHS has always made their own rules anyway, then break them as they see fit when it’s convenient for them.





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