It’s been reported online that the Carthage Humane Society board fired their shelter director, Deborah Bell, and closed the shelter. They voted on Wednesday last and the vote went 6-3. It appears that she had done good work and the reason for the firing was a series of disagreementa with the president of the board of directors.
“As of this day, April 24, 2019, Carthage Humane Society and the director Deborah Bell have dissolved their ties,” said Jonathan Roberts who is the shelter board’s president when emailing the Globe (the source of this article).
We don’t have hard details as to why this happened. Deborah Bell said that she had not been notified by the board that she had been fired but had been told to return her keys! She is unsure as to why she was fired but is not surprised.
It appears that the firing arose out of disagreements between her and Jonathan Roberts on certain issues in the past.
“I’m still just kind of spinning from it. I have not been contacted by [Roberts] at all. But I’m not surprised because I think Jonathan has been compiling this for a long time. After all, he had a locksmith there at the meeting before the voting even started.”
Jonathan said that I wasn’t easy to get along with. We do butt heads, but we didn’t get a single increase [in funding] from the city of Carthage for taking in their animals for over 20 years.”
There was an earlier problem at the shelter in the fall of 2017 before Bell took charge. There were reports of underfed animals and incomplete records. This led to the resignation of the former director Craig Putnam.
Bell was hired in 2017 after Putnam’s resignation. She asked for a $3,000 increase in funding under the shelter contract with the city. The city agreed to pay an increase of half that provided the shelter demonstrated satisfactory performance after a six-month review.
Subsequently in 2018 the city was unhappy with a feral cat program run by the shelter. Relationships were strained apparently when the city of Carthage didn’t want to cover medical costs for a dog brought to the shelter.
Subsequently, in November of last year, Roberts praised Bell for her work at the shelter. He said that she had been a beacon (praise indeed):
“She’s given me more energy to want to serve as a board member, and she’s helped make the Humane Society a happier place. She’s had incredible vision on what she would like to see the shelter do and what we need to operate and be more efficient.”
Clearly, subsequently, there was a breakdown in the relationship. The 6-3 vote indicates that not everybody at the board meeting was happy with her dismissal. Therese Nixon is one of those board members who said that she would be missed and that it would be an incredible loss to the shelter if Bell no longer worked there.
“Deborah has done a wonderful job, and it would be a terrible shame for her to leave. When I first started volunteering out there (two years ago), that place was a disaster. Dogs were dying everywhere. She has turned it around. It’s 1000% better. It’s a terrible, terrible thing if she is not going to be there. She doesn’t deserve to be let go.”
Bell said that she would return to the shelter if there was a change in leadership hinting that there was a breakdown in the relationship between her and the president of the Board of Directors.
Comment: Bell has a kind face. Yes, it is a gut feel. She is a good person and the firing was due to Jonathan Roberts becoming irritated with her because she stood her ground in discussions with him.