Heat Turning Up On Connecticut Humane Society Management

January 18, 2010

The next two days apparently will be interesting at the Connecticut Humane Society, where workers, former workers, volunteers and their supporters have targeted Richard Johnston, longtime president and board chairman, for removal.

The CHS board of directors is scheduled to meet today (Tuesday), and it appears that Johnston will be grilled about accusations that were made public on CtWatchdog of bullying workers, failing to follow his own rules, requiring the staff to baby-sit his daughter, and hiding evidence of harsh chemicals from OSHA inspectors. He has been the full-time president and chairman of the board for 20 years. Let’s say if the Board does its job he will be grilled.  He is also a lawyer, a real estate agent and a former state senator.

And on Wednesday, The Coalition for Change, a group claiming to include more than 50 “concerned animal welfare advocates,” has scheduled a press conference in East Hartford where it will publicly call for Johnston’s removal. Interestingly enough, one of the leaders in Wednesday’s press conference is Cheryl Rice, a public relations and marketing consultant who used to do PR for the Humane Society until she was fired five years ago.

The key spokeswoman will be Maureen Lord, Johnston’s former assistant, who was fired after eight years at the society for union activity, both she and a board member said.

“In mid 2009, the Coalition for Change was formed to address increasing concerns among Connecticut Humane Society employees that the organization was deteriorating at a rapid pace,” says the press release put out by the group.

“Individual reports of mistreatment and abuse of employees by Johnston stretched back for years, but in recent months, employees began to see that bad management was negatively impacting 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 report that they are compelled by Johnston to move animals through the building quickly to keep the number of animals “handled” high. The pressure is on, they say, to abandon good care in favor of quick care.

“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 has contested the vote, and has since fired three employees for participating in union activities.”

Lord and another fired employee provided me with written statements that I passed on to the Attorney General resulted in a state investigation.

My columns on the issue can be clicked through the headlines under this blog.

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.

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  2. Alpha Dog on January 18, 2010 at 10:05 pm


    • hard worker on January 26, 2010 at 8:33 pm

      It it hurtful to see the criticism of two managers who work harder than the staff and always have. To see them called foul names and demeaned for all of the devotion they have to all animals and to the people that they work with is very difficult for me.
      Kitty Baker is a caring person and has saved many, many animal lives. She has a variety of skills that make her a competent manager.
      Elizabeth C. has improved the Intake Division tremendously by setting higher standards of cleaning and operation.
      Those of us who admire these women , the other dedicated managers and the workers at CHS ,suggest that if you feel it is so important to demean your superiors we would rather you leave the organization.(Walk Out the Front Door!)

      • Concerned too on January 27, 2010 at 12:09 pm

        If everyone walks out, who will take care of the animals? Don’t you care about they way people and animals are treated? Yes, deep down inside Kitty and Elizabeth are good people, but somehow they lost their way. Have you ever heard of the saying “sticks and stones?”

        What’s really important is the treatment and saftey of the animals and staff.

        • DC on January 29, 2010 at 8:15 pm

          Who will care for the animals? The managers that you speak so ill of! The ones that volunteer their time To work above and beyond what is asked of them. I have yet to see any of animal care workers chose to socialize or just sit with an animal rather than miss their precious break! I don’t see them hustling to get through their cleaning so that the animals can have quality time! When the managers open the building things are up and running in plenty of time to give the animals quality time.

          • Alpha Dog on January 29, 2010 at 8:30 pm

            You clearly have no idea what you are talking about, if an employee stops for more than 5 seconds to pet or talk to an animal they are quickly asked what they are doing, and then reprimanded and sent back to work. We are NOT allowed to socialize with an animal unless we are with a customer. As far as breaks go, most if not all will take an animal out during that time, because it is the ONLY time you don’t get in trouble for it. And when do these managers “volunteer” thier time? Maybe if the managers helped thier staff the cleaning would get done quicker, but they still wouldn’t allow us to socialize the animals, that time would be filled with meaningless side jobs.

          • Volunteer on January 30, 2010 at 8:41 am

            LOL DC! That’s all I have to say. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s like you typed the opposite of the truth on purpose.

          • Lindsay on February 8, 2010 at 9:44 pm

            DC, well she IS, I’m sorry WAS a manger. She should know better. I always took time to socialize animals, but once they started to ban them in the break room, and would question why you had an animal out if you were on a break it became a little difficult. But perhaps if she spent less time focusing on the dogs that truely should have been euthanized and focused her efforts on saving the masses, then progress would be made.

      • Social Justice For All on January 27, 2010 at 7:47 pm

        Functional teams are not composed of “superior” and “inferior” members. Furthermore, you would rather have someone leave if they don’t agree with you rather than listen, empathize or consider that it’s OKAY if someone doesn’t agree with you. That’s the attitude responsible for the exodus of so many talented people.To have an institution where people are forced to become like you in order to survive there is asking a lot from an employee and creates a hostile and dysfunctional working environment.

      • Yet another former employee on February 7, 2010 at 11:39 pm

        Sadly, hard worker, these managers will be all thats left. The staff will get picked off one by one, and all you’ll have left are these managers. I hope you have your utmost faith in them, because when all of the other hard working people have been fired, the animals will need these 2, 3, or 4 managers left to take care of the entire shelter.

  3. omd on January 18, 2010 at 11:25 pm

    The truth will prevail!

  4. DT on January 19, 2010 at 12:01 am

    who is the Lisenced Behavorist??/????

    • Anon on January 19, 2010 at 7:31 pm

      There isn’t one, not with a degree in animal behavior anyway.

    • Lindsay on January 20, 2010 at 5:49 pm

      The current evaluator attended CT K-9 over 10 years ago, and has not furthered her education since, although now speaks very ill of the practices taught at CT K-9 (chock and jerk methods, prong and shock collars, dominance rolls, etc.). She doesn’t use these training methods and has used positive reinforcement training for a number of years but still hasn’t taken time out for seminars or other outlets.

      • DC on January 21, 2010 at 7:50 pm

        Hasn’t taken time, or hasn’t had the opportunity?

  5. uberVU - social comments on January 19, 2010 at 5:04 am

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  7. It's about time! on January 19, 2010 at 7:47 am

    I’m not sure how effective a “grilling” will be coming from a Board that has looked the other way for years, is hand-picked by Johnston and, in some cases, see a financial advantage to themselves by keeping him at the CHS. Let’s hope they choose to do the right thing for the CT Humane Society and the animals that are entrusted to their care and give RJ the boot. The CHS has the potential to be a great organization but will continue to decline under the reign of RJ.

    • Concerned Citizen on January 20, 2010 at 7:54 pm

      The Board has to be cycle out as well, best for all parties. I am an executive and would gladly v-o-l-u-n-t-e-e-r my services. I will send the AG my resume 😉

  8. Robyn on January 19, 2010 at 8:05 am

    Hallelujah! It’s about time this was out in the open. This has been swept under the rug too many times. Connecticut’s oldest and most prominent charitable organization needs to shine as it did long ago.

  9. Mer on January 19, 2010 at 9:20 am

    Why hasn’t the Union asked the court for a temporary order preventing any more firings at CHS until this is resolved? Johnston responds like a caged animal and he will strike out to hurt whoever is closest – the staff and the animals. And if he can’t he’ll see to it his lackey managers do. There needs to be a temporary moritorium on terminations and manager mandated euthanasia.

    • Greyhound lover on January 19, 2010 at 11:34 am

      The AG should also monitor where he is spending the donation money during all of this…
      Word is he is dumping thousands of dollars into an unnecessary security system to monitor employees and having their names embroidered onto their shirts for easy tracking. Sick!
      Also, he spends thousands and thousands of dollars of donation money fighting legal battles…which means suing these poor fired employees, fighting the union in court…all things that he should not be doing, especially to these poor people who are just trying to do the right thing.
      This injustice has to stop!

      • Mer on January 19, 2010 at 11:42 am

        They also have to now track their time – be accountable for every minute. No doubt this will be used to punish “undesirables” by stating they aren’t working fast enough – but you know the management isn’t going to do a statistical analysis with a standard deviation, published to the staff, to create a baseline.

        Like all other policies this will be arbitrarily applied and an employee written up for “wasting time” will not know how long a task should be taking them, or how long it takes others.

      • Lindsay on January 20, 2010 at 7:05 pm

        Not just sick, illegal. No one has been formally notified of the cameras and their intended use.

        • volunteer on January 20, 2010 at 7:51 pm

          No Lindsay, cameras may be installed in a work place without any consutation with the staff under the ruse of being used for security. They can also install hidden cameras in the building anywhere’s except bathrooms. I’m not buying the name tag tracking statement. There aren’t that many employees working in the building and I think they now everybodies names. Believe me I support the staff and agree that Johnston has to go but lets be careful saying things that you are not really sure of.

          • Lindsay on January 20, 2010 at 9:46 pm

            even for purposes of security you MUST notify of cameras in use. in this case even the genearl public must know, via a sign on the wall or door.

          • Lindsay on January 20, 2010 at 10:04 pm

            The Connecticut law, codified as Conn. Gen. Stat. § 31-48d (2008), requires employers who engage in any type of electronic monitoring to “give prior written notice to all employees who may be affected, informing them of the types of monitoring which may occur.” Id. at § 31-48d(b)(1).

          • DC on January 21, 2010 at 7:45 pm

            try reading a personal manual

          • Lindsay on February 8, 2010 at 9:40 pm

            I believe you mean “personnel”

        • Concerned Citizen on January 20, 2010 at 7:52 pm

          !!!RIGHT – AG’s Office – PLEASE PAY ATTENTION HERE!

          Workers are subject to video monitoring and have not been informed of this!!!

          • Alpha Dog on January 20, 2010 at 10:18 pm

            It isn’t posted now and never has been.

          • volunteer on January 20, 2010 at 11:01 pm

            Lindsay, I stand corrected. i wasn’t aware of the new [2008] law.
            Where are the cameras?

  10. a volunteer on January 19, 2010 at 11:05 am

    Does anybody know where in E. Htfd the press conference is being held? I’d like to go and show my support

  11. Monica on January 19, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    This is unbelievable! this guy is going to try to cover his ass when so many animals have already suffered. Johnston needs to lose his job and someone with compassion and intelligence needs to take over!

    • Alpha Dogg on January 22, 2010 at 2:35 pm

      Ok, GREAT! How about you work your ass off and maybe one day you can be in charge and then maybe you will realize how hard it really can be.

      • anony mouse on January 23, 2010 at 11:54 am

        Oh, GREAT! How about you work your ass off, ever, even once. Because the supervisors and managers that are causing so many of the problems at CHS work harder at abusing the employees than the do saving the animals.

  12. Remy on January 19, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    This is great!!!!!! I am positive that tomorrow’s press conference will make a difference. This is what happens when people stick together and work hard to make a change. Good work everyone =)

  13. Alpha Dog on January 19, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    These so called managers need to be pulled into the spotlight as well. They continue to harass the staff on a daily basis. I hope they are aware that the Coalition will be asking for the immediate dismissal of them as well. Your inhumanity will NO longer be tolerated.

    • Helen on January 19, 2010 at 11:25 pm

      You are bragging about causing people to lose their jobs!? How will they support their families? Who do you think you are? Now that’s inhumane.

      • Alpha Dog on January 19, 2010 at 11:50 pm

        These people have no right to have jobs, and especially a job where they are in charge! You go work for them for just 1 day and then you tell me that they deserve to be there.

      • Also a Volunteer on January 20, 2010 at 8:49 am

        What is inhumane is the way the workers are treated by this tyrannical leadership. They are berated, disrespected and exposed to an unhealthy environment. When someone chooses to treat a fellow human being like that, yes they certainly DO deserve to lose their jobs.

      • Mer on January 20, 2010 at 8:54 am

        Having a job, especially one in a leadership position, is a privilege not a right. These people should be ashamed of themselves for putting their families at risk with their lack of professionalism. It is not the fault of suffering animals or dedicated staff that these people will see the unemployment line; they did it to themselves.

      • Been there done that on January 20, 2010 at 10:22 pm

        Helen get with it. Do you think any of them care about the people who were recently terminated and how they were going to support their families. Especially since they were making very little money to begin with. YOU need to wake up and smell the coffee.

        • Alpha Dogg on January 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm

          Go get a job if you dont like it. If you are being so mistreated. You say its for the animals, well it sure doesn’t sound like it. If it were about the animals then you wouldnt be here bitching “oh poor me, oh poor me” you would be working your ass off as a team, trying to find these animals homes, keeping their environments clean. When I say say team I mean everybody YES everybody managers and all because they work their asses off too. You people are just too blind and caught up in yourselves that you dont see nor appreciate it. You people REALLY think these managers (monsters as you call them) really go home and plot against you? You people make me sick.

          • anony mouse on January 23, 2010 at 11:57 am

            If a “team” is made up of “everyone” then how come the managers of incoming and adoptions get to spend two hours a day in secret little meetings when there is still hours worth of animal care work to be done? How come some favored employees, best friends a current team leader, get to preferential treatment enabling them to receive higher pay than most of their coworkers for doing substantially less work? I agree with one thing you said though, YOU people make me sick.

          • Concerned too on January 23, 2010 at 3:02 pm

            Are you serious? Managers do work yes, work hard at making the staffs job miserable. I know Mr.J brain washed all of the managers into thinking he’s doing the right thing for chs, but come on. If timing staff for bathroom breaks, dog walks and not allowing them to talk to eachother while working, there’s something wrong here. You talk about team work, well if the managers did care about that then they would put their jobs on the line to make sure the animals have the full staff and proper care they deserve.

          • Mer on January 25, 2010 at 9:19 am

            I think it’s telling that a CHS manager only bothered posting in the thread related to management. Showcases, yet again, that the management thinks only of themselves and not the organization.

    • Alpha Dogg on January 22, 2010 at 2:32 pm

      Have any of you just stopped one second and think about the managers. I mean really think. These people probably did exactly what you are doing, scrubbing and cleaning and working their hands to the bone to get to where they are. You people need to get a grib on things, if it’s all that bad quit, start a shelter of your very own. It’s a free country we live in people. Get over yourselves.

      • anony mouse on January 23, 2010 at 11:50 am

        They have little to no managerial experience before CHS, no higher education of any kind, and no knowledge of any of the common methods of employee management utilized at all of the most successful corporations in this country. Yet they have jobs due to their unrelenting support of Richard, even when he is clearly wrong.

      • Concerned too on January 23, 2010 at 3:19 pm

        Hello… alot of people have been working just as hard as the next employee but all they got was written up, demoted or fired Remember?!!!

      • WOW on February 18, 2010 at 7:42 pm

        Well, let’s see…one of the managers use to do Suduko puzzles on a regular basis during her scheduled work time. She was supposed to be doing paperwork. She was…suduko puzzles. Another manager was extremely busy continually complaining and putting down staff members to other staff members. Just a tad insecure I would say & great way to develop a healthy team. Not to say how she complained about Richard – I can’t say what she said about him or what she said about “the troll” who she gave the name to. If they acted like responsible managers that would be one thing but they just aren’t! Not much more to say about that.

  14. Mom on January 19, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Let’s hope that all of this attention WILL turn on the heat for Dick Johnston and his friends ,and will bring positive results for the Ct Humane Society. The animals, the employees and the organization has suffered enough because of him, and he should step down gracfully. He should leave the employees alone, and let them do their job, and leave the people he fired alone! He’s done enough damage. Time to call it quits Mr. Johnston!

  15. oneeyeddog on January 19, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    Its all politics and he should be removed. And who gets hurt? The people who work there because they CARE about animals and the animals that deserve a second chance!!!!

  16. Social Justice For All on January 19, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Let’s not forget the Fox Memorial Clinic and it’s management…all is not well there either…

    • Alpha Dog on January 19, 2010 at 8:33 pm

      Of course not, he runs that too. The employees from Fox Clinic are not allowed to socialize with the staff of CT. Humane Society. They are also constantly harrassed by thier manager as well, also behind that is Johnston himself.

      • Concerned Citizen on January 20, 2010 at 7:49 pm

        Doesn’t RJ also draw a salary from Fox? How convenient…

  17. kjh on January 20, 2010 at 10:15 am

    From a manager’s perspective employed at CHS(Newington) this is the scenario. I segragate Newington from the other branches because the conditions are different due to RBJ’s office location and where he spends the majority of his time. The good managers, or managers that would be good if RBJ allowed them to, eventually realize the warped culture inside the walls of CHS and leave knowing there is no other solution. Obviously this is true due to Maureen and Bridget’s situation. The manager’s that remain employed at CHS must lack self confidence and believe they are unable to be employed elsewhere and continue the insanity that RBJ creates. If you look at the volume of unhappy employees at CHS there is a problem with management. I hope all is resolved because the staff is wonderful, hard working and all just want to be there for the animals. It’s not about the money…although they certainly deserve more for their physical and emotional efforts that come with caring for these pets!

  18. Yet another former on January 20, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    I have to respond to HELEN’s comments about the Coalition asking for the removal of Johnston and his cronies. First of all, the coaltion does not feel that anyone should not have a job. However not every job is a good fit for every person. If you believe that as a manager, you need to have a quota for how many people you write up is good management, god help you. If you think timing someone in the rest room is good management, shame on you. If you think that you can bully great people by making up lies and then forcing them to sign their “write up’s” is good management, then god help the people who work for you. As for people saying that it’s all about disgruntled employee’s, do you really think that if these underpaid people were all concerned about the money they make, that they would seek out the help of a union KNOWING it would then mean union dues which will come out of their paycheck? Come on now, this is about the animals and the barbarians who run the place. I don’t understand why anyone would not believe this, your getting support in GREAT numbers from past volunteers, managers, animal care givers and donors…what more do you need?

    • anony mouse on January 20, 2010 at 8:35 pm

      Yet another. . .

      Hasn’t anyone ever told you not to feed the trolls? Like stray cats, it just makes them come around more. Sorry Helen, no meow-mix for you.

  19. PsiCop on January 23, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Am I the only person reading these articles who finds the laundry list of charges to be a little “over the top” and difficult to believe? First Johnston is accused of abusing workers. Then it’s trying to torpedo unionization. Then it’s subverting OSHA inspections. Now it’s mistreating animals.

    Don’t get me wrong, even if only one of these accusations is true, it’s not acceptable. I simply find it suspicious that the accusations are piling up thick and fast .. and they just happen to be coming at a time when workers are trying to unionize.

    This tall-and-growing pile of accusations is rapidly looking more and more far-fetched. Especially given the union’s motivation to pile them up and force the organization to buckle. It’s as though they’re using the “shotgun approach” to propaganda in order to get their way. Next thing you know, they’ll be accusing Johnston of embezzlement and/or theft of items from CHS. After that, I expect even more extreme accusations, the nature of which I dare not even imagine just now.

    Sorry, but the credibility here is rapidly diminishing. Let’s just admit what is very likely going on here … the union is using the metaphorical crowbar of these accusations in order to break down the doors and get into CHS. That should be done legally, using the methods already prescribed by law … which includes letting those laws punish CHS and its management if it is, in fact, illegally trying to prevent unionization.

    Blasting a vast salvo of accusations at them through the media, however, is NOT part of that procedure, last I knew, and it only makes who whole effort look very suspicious, to objective observers such as myself.

    I expect commenters will “pile on” for me for saying this. Well, too bad. It needs to be said, by someone. For the record, I don’t know Johnston or anyone who runs CHS. I have absolutely no connection to anyone there. I don’t know if any or all of these accusations are true. And yes, if any of them are, Johnston needs to go (which I already suggested above). But vilification of me just for pointing out the ridiculous scope and falling credibility of these allegations, will only confirm there’s an entrenched propaganda machine at work here which is not interested in “truth,” but only in “unionizing at all costs.”

    • Concerned Citizen on January 23, 2010 at 2:24 pm

      ^^ You have not idea what you are talking about PsiCop, go back to trolling other message boards. The Union was already voted in by the employees at CHS. The concerns being voiced here are real and legit, not motivated by wanting to get the Union in. Johnston is doing everything he can to block the Union, so folks are simply wanting to get the word out about how corrupt he is.

      You must be a member of the CHS BOD, only reason you would attempt to weigh in and help cover up this public relations nightmare that starts with the Johnston, his senior Mgrs. and the BOD.

      “the truth is out there…”

      • PsiCop on January 23, 2010 at 7:15 pm

        Did you catch the part where I said I wasn’t connected with CHS? Your baseless accusation has just verified your irrationality.

        • Just saying on January 24, 2010 at 2:53 pm

          Okay MrJ. whatever.

          • anony mouse on January 24, 2010 at 5:55 pm

            Do a google search for PsiCop. He/She is pretty vocal across the entire internet. Not Mr. J, just somebody who likes to leave comments across the web.

      • Yet another former employee on February 7, 2010 at 11:26 pm

        PsiCop, the fact is that the staff sought out the union, the union did not seek out CHS. There has been an incredible amount of foul play going on within those doors at CHS for many, many years, and as a result the turn around time for employees I’m betting is higher than any job out there. The staff is at their wits end, and finally someone (Cathy) was brave enough to stand up. Again the staff is desperate for union help, not the other way around. This is coming from someone who was on the inside, and who doesn’t benefit from the union, or Mr. J resigning.

    • Concerned too on January 23, 2010 at 2:32 pm

      You have the right to your opinion, but these accusations are true. After decades of this injustice has been going on, finally we can make a stand and a difference. Over the years people have tried to make it better at chs but it only got worse. Believe it or not we are doing the right thing by coming forward and telling our side for the sake of the chs staff, volunteers and all of the animals. Thank you for your input, but things have to get worse before they get better and if invesigating the books and other things are needed to be done then what’s the harm with finding out the truth?!

      • PsiCop on January 23, 2010 at 7:20 pm

        As an outside observer I still find this pile of allegations difficult to believe. I already explained why, and at length. Merely telling me … once again … that they are true, in no way addresses the basic credibility problem.

        In other words … before I start believing this huge pile of stuff, I need much more than just unattested, anonymous, personal reassurances that they’re correct. Credibility is not something you can just demand from people when, at the same time, you are piling up a rather fantastic tale of incredible long-running wrongdoing.

        • A Volunteer on January 29, 2010 at 6:10 pm

          For your own peace of mind, you may want to volunteer, or otherwise spend some time at CHS and observe for yourself.

        • Greyhound lover on April 3, 2010 at 9:23 am

          Psicop…would love to hear how you feel now about the accusations…since the AG, OSHA, and the NLRB have confirmed all of these “outlandish accusations”
          I hope you feel foolish for doubting hundreds of concerned citizens, volunteers, and employees of the Connecticut Humane Society.
          You wanted proof…well there it is.
          Now instead of trolling around on websites touting your ignorant opinion without doing any research, get involved and help straighten this once trusted and reputable charity out.
          There is a lot more in doing than in just simply saying.

    • Mer on January 23, 2010 at 3:38 pm

      If this post doesn’t read like a writing of a well educated lawyer, desperately trying to sound like a lay person, I don’t know what does. I’m just surprised there was no mention of tortious allegations or prima facie elements. Just my opinion.

      “Blast a vast salvo.” Brilliant. Truly.

      • PsiCop on January 23, 2010 at 7:23 pm

        FWIW I am no lawyer. I have been reading these blog entries and simply find them piled far too high to be credible any longer. I decided to voice this, and did so carefully and clearly.

        “Concerned Citizen”‘s accusation that I must be a CHS board member, is irrational and only shows me that there is a substantial irrational element behind this effort.

        Therefore, I’m finding it even less credible than I did before (and honestly, I’d already assigned it only 1% credibility then).

        • Mer on January 24, 2010 at 1:43 pm

          Please go back trolling one of the other multiple websites you visit. I suspect this is a great labor to get people to google your name and end up providing your blog with more hits. I certainly fell for it.

        • Lindsay on January 27, 2010 at 7:19 pm

          If you want credibility, go volunteer and experience it in person. There are volunteers posting on here who gain nothing from employees unionizing, and I along with other former employees also gain nothing.

    • Cheryl Rice on January 23, 2010 at 4:20 pm

      You stated your position very well, PsiCop. Extraordinarily well. It is certainly unusual for an objective observer to put that much thought into a web comment, but I’m glad you did. You made one excellent point: what you said needed to be said, by someone. That is because it needs to be answered.

      I’ll just make two quick points and be on my way, since my role in this whole thing, while public, is also rather limited. First of all, the Coalition for Change came together months before the union was even a part of the equation. I understand that they did that because they were concerned about deteriorating conditions at the Society. Do you know something different about that? Second – how do you explain the dozens of members of the Coalition who are long-gone former employees (such as myself) and volunteers, who have absolutely nothing to gain from Society employees unionizing?

      I am here because I know that some of the allegations are true from personal experience, and perhaps even more damning, I know that many of the others are perfectly feasible. I was in that building for eleven months, five years ago, and to this day nothing would surprise me. Not even the “ridiculous” scope of the accusations.

      • PsiCop on January 23, 2010 at 7:30 pm

        Again, I only know what I am seeing in these reports. And once again, as I explained already, I find them — quite simply and in two words — “not credibile.”

        You and others can offer any personal claims you want about it. You can even insist this effort “came together” months ago. The cold hard fact is that this is hard to believe, and the whole scenario is rapidly becoming even harder to believe. Especially when irrational people, e.g. Concerned Citizen, accuse me of things which aren’t true (i.e. that I’m a CHS board member).

        (FWIW I’ve corresponded with George personally in the past. Not sure if he remembers me, but he might. If he wishes, he can contact me and verify that I am not connected with CHS.)

        You can either accept that there is a credibility problem inherent in this pile of allegations — which curiously have all just happened piled up as a unionization effort is underway — or not. That credibility problem is yours to address, or not. Your choice.

        • Mayor Of Dogtown on January 23, 2010 at 7:57 pm

          I’m all for a good debate, it just makes the coalitions case stronger if we stick to the facts. So therefore, would it help to see the medical reports on the staff memeber who was forced to clean with bleach until his lungs were burned? That is documented!

          Is the credibility part due to the fact that you cannot imagine the President of an Organization to be so cruel to people? Can you imagine how it feels to be one of maybe ten animal care staff workers who have to cover seven days a week….taking care of probably 45 dogs, maybe 90 cats, 8 or so rabbits and countless other guinea pigs, rats and miscellaneous critters? Can you imagine how it THEN feels to be so short handed on the adoption floor to find that Mr J has hired two more “supervisors” instead of more animal handlers? He’s trying to make everyone quit so he can have a bunch of Johnston Puppets. What he will find out as with most hires, they won’t last because they won’t accept being bullied. Most of the people replying to this are not even current employee’s who have nothing to lose or gain from speaking up so why is it so hard to imagine?

        • Gioia on January 24, 2010 at 1:56 pm

          You can’t have it both ways, PsiCop. You can’t claim to find what you’ve been reading mostly incredulous, thereby challenging the veracity of most if not all of the posters, as well as, by association and implication, Mr Gombossy, and at the same time lash out at those who you feel will “pile on” on you. Since you admit you have no connection to CHS, its president, board of directors, anyone else affiliated with this institution or the man on the moon, you must also recognize that you can’t possibly be in a position to make the claims you are making. You are entitled to your opinions, yes, but when you attack the integrity of so many people who’ve suffered through their association with the present regime, and who are also entitled to their viewpoints and positions, then you are being hypocritical. You piled against, but in return you’d like to be left alone, unscathed. Take it like a man (or woman).

          For the record, I have no present connection to CHS, but, unlike you, did have a lengthy, past association. I have nothing to gain or lose by the success or failure of the effort to unionize. But I don’t begrudge or blame any of the current staff for at least looking into unionization. That’s their call and their business. It doesn’t matter whether or not you believe what’s been related thus far. It matters not that you think you’ve deduced that the timing of these blasts conveniently coincides with the call for unionization. What matters is what can be proven. And as I’ve already made this appeal a couple of times on this forum, it is worth making it once more. Those of you (past or present) who do have knowledge that can be useful to the AG’s office, please consider stepping forward with what you know. As I’ve stated before, RJ is shrewd, crafty, smart. It won’t be easy uncovering what he does not want uncovered, which is why the best hope lies with those individuals who know (and can prove) something.

          Alright PsiCop, having said my peace, I’ll give you this: It must seem to an outsider that at least some of what’s been described is, as you say, over the top. After you wrote that in your posts, it made me think about how all of this might have seemed to me had I too been an outsider. Admittedly, I can see how this can be viewed with at least some doubt or skepticism, even with disdain, by someone on the outside trying to look in. I won’t waste the keystrokes trying to convince you that there is volumes of truth in what’s been reported and posted thus far because as you’ve stated a few times already, you’re not simply going to buy off on that just because we say it is so. Fair enough–your call. If and when this is over, and if something can be proven, I hope you will step up at that time and admit that what you had surmised was wrong. But remember, just because some things cannot be proven, does not make them untrue. It is my ardent hope, however, that eposure is just around the corner. Evidence people–that’s what is needed–appeal to your consciences and give it up.

    • Greyhound lover on January 27, 2010 at 12:07 pm

      Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respect your comment. However, let me tell you that yes the “laundry list” of outrageous complaints are true. And, there are many more complaints, abuses, and corruption under his leadership that the general public is not privy to…at the moment.
      The reason no one else truly knows what is going on is because this president’s corruption runs so deep, it pervades to the very core of the organization. The BOD and head management all do his bidding and therefore he is able to cover the corruption up.
      Anyone who has spoken out in the past was ostracized, fired, or bullied into submission. Please do some research before you bash these articles; they are entirely true.
      Yes, it’s a shame and an almost surreal crime…but as long as you, members of the general public, continue to downplay this and consider it unfathomable then it will continue on. Please ask questions delve deeper, or just take a swing by the Newington branch and observe for yourself. I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.
      It is true and these people need help. Your passion here seems to lie in exposing the truth; so I urge you to do so as a concerned citizen. These people who have come forth have obviously nothing to hide. However, Johnston won’t face the cameras or the questions, the BOD has remained inactive as usual, and the managers are worse than ever bullying the staff.
      Johnston has covered the place in security cameras, hired more managers…there are honestly more managers in the Newington branch than staff, and the conditions are so poor it’s just dangerous. He is also hiring a PR person to do their dirty work; they have a PR department; why is he spending more donations on hiding his lies? That is the obvious answer here, not that these stories are “make believe”, but that this guy has some major things to hide. It is inhumane at the humane society for humans and animals.
      Please see beyond the seemingly outlandishness of the accusations and ask some questions here!

    • Also a Volunteer on January 27, 2010 at 2:18 pm

      What about the facts PsiCop? First of all, Johnston runs the CHS and the BOD. Heads them both up, he doesn’t answer to anyone. That in itself is bizarre. Second, OSHA doesn’t “make things up”. Third, give the Newington branch a call. Ask them what the manager to staff ratio is. I’m a volunteer. I have no reason to make this up or lie. All these former employees and former/current volunteers have better things to do than involve themselves in something that has no bearing. Yes the list of allegations is ridiculous. It’s ridiculous because they’re all true and RJ has been getting away with it for years.

    • A Volunteer on January 29, 2010 at 6:08 pm

      Sadly, this isn’t propaganda or a smear campaign. Remember, this is about concern for the animals’ well-being, not a personal agenda. Most members of the coalition aren’t current employees and have little to gain. And, for those of us that have seen these transgressions first hand, it’s sad but true. Based on first hand experience, it’s more that more people are coming forward.

  20. Mer on January 25, 2010 at 9:22 am

    What’s truly sad, and what most people don’t see, is that the animal care staff aren’t staying at CHS because they can’t kind find similar (or better) work elsewhere. They aren’t stuck, even in this economy. It’s a choice. They stay there, despite the deplorable treatment, because of what they’ve seen.

    The employees know what little regard there is for animal well being. But the employees know if they don’t stick it out and fight for the animals no one else will. Once a staff member internalizes just how bad it really is for the animals they can’t “let it go.”

    They stay, knowing they fight a losing battle on a daily basis, giving up the things their age, education and experience should bring. They gave up the “American Dream” to which most people think they are entitled. They live and breathe the CHS and are punished, routinely, for trying to do the best for the animals.

    And so they stay. Knowing what know, seeing what they’ve seen, they stay and try to make it right.

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