Tonight at the meeting of Richmond City Council, the Consent Agenda contained two items of importance to Richmond Animal Care and Control.
Item 3: To amend City Code for the purpose of providing for a Director of the Office of Animal Care And Control.
Item 4: To amend the pay plan to create a title of Director, Office of Animal Care and Control in the unclassified executive service.
Our Chief Executive Officer Robin Starr addressed the following remarks to members of council:
President Graziano and the members of City Council, I am Robin Starr, the Chief Executive Officer of the Richmond SPCA. Our organization supports the creation of a position of Director to head the operation of Richmond Animal Care and Control and the related increase in salary range on one condition. That condition is that the City conducts promptly a valid and well-organized nationwide search for a truly experienced and well regarded animal welfare professional who is sincerely committed to progressive approaches to saving homeless animal lives and that the City will support the implementation of such progressive approaches. We believe that the decision on such hiring must reflect the input of persons chosen by those organizations that transfer animals from the City shelter including the Richmond SPCA. If a nationwide search is not going to be conducted and/or if the decision making process will not be reflective of the viewpoints of those who are actively saving homeless animals in the City, then we see no need for this increase in title and pay level.
I must take this moment to correct inaccurate information that I am told you received at your last public meeting two weeks ago. I understand that, at that time, you were informed that the City had entered into a new partnership agreement with the Richmond SPCA to replace our previous one that expired by its terms. That is not the case.
This Council authorized City Administration to enter into a new partnership agreement with us in the fall of 2010. The document that was authorized we found later contained language that had never been seen or agreed to by the Richmond SPCA. When we sought to discuss this added language and find the way to arrive at a mutually acceptable document, we were unable to ever get any response from the City administration. I made numerous attempts, all of which have been documented, to address this issue, none of which received any response from the City. I will add that neither did City administration nor the City Attorney's office make any effort to get the partnership agreement that was approved by this Council executed by the parties in the form that it was approved. After our many efforts to finalize a new mutually agreeable partnership agreement proved futile, our Board made a decision last fall that we would no longer seek or enter into such a partnership with the City.
This was an important occasion to set the record straight before City Council and explain that City administration had been non-responsive for many months. It became imperative upon our organization that we must act consistently with our mission to save the greatest possible number of lives, and that is how we have been operating without preference to any specific local government within our community.
The ensuing discussion made clear that members of the City Council were very surprised at the lack of a formal partnership agreement.
Tabitha Frizzell Hanes is the director of communications at the Richmond SPCA. To read the biographies of our regular bloggers, please click here. Before posting a comment, please review our comment guidelines. Please note that our comment policy requires a first and last name to be used as your screen name.