LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Mayor Greg Fischer has announced plans to hire a private agency to take over Louisville Metro Animal Services.
Thursday morning, Fischer said he met with the Performance Review Committee, which he put together to review LMAS. Fischer appointed members to the committee back in January. After months of interviews, Fischer said the committee handed him a final report with their recommendations.
The 23 page report is detailed and addresses every aspect of the department including management, communications, public relations, organizational structure, facilities and equipment, staff, volunteers, and training, among other things. The report states LMAS lacks leadership, communication, and business structure. Forty three employees, including Interim Director, Debbie Fox were interviewed. After speaking to the group, the committee decided it was not necessary to interview any other person.
"The problem in mismanagement has, quite frankly, gone on far too long and it's time for significant change," Mayor Greg Fischer said.
Mayor Fischer said once they have a contract with a private agency, the search for a director will end. He said he is hopeful they will have an agency in place by July 1st. Since the private agency will handle shelter care and adoptions, Fischer said the city will focus on animal control.
"It's my hope this action will help us become a city in which no adoptable animal is euthanize," Fischer said.
For years, Metro Animal Services has been the center of controversy. Its Director, Giles Meloche resigned after accusations of sexual harassment and mismanagement. The interim Director, Wayne Zelinksky, left after city leaders said they learned he had a racy Internet business.
No-Kill Louisville President, Jessica Reid said the committee's report does not say anything volunteers and employees haven't been saying for years. She said they have been saying LMAS lacked leadership and did not have a strong management team. She expressed disappointment with the committee's findings.
"it feels like a betrayal to me as a volunteer," she said. Reid said it feels as if city leaders needed to bring in another team to validate what volunteers and employees have been saying all along.
She said she does not have confidence in the system, saying they were told LMAS was getting an new director not a private agency.
"I want a guarantee, if they're going to look for a private agency that they are a no-kill model because that's what we were promised. If that's what it is, I'm all for it. I support it," Reid said.
Reid said the committee never spoke to organizations like No-Kill Louisville to get their take. The mayor's office said, moving forward, they want to make sure the private agency will do that. Reid hopes there will not be favoritism.