PROVIDING INFORMATION AND ANALYSES OF ANIMAL ISSUES IN LOS ANGELES
FROM ADL: APPOINTMENT OF PROGRESSIVE DIRECTOR OF FIELD OPERATIONS FOR LAAS!
Mark Salazar, one of the two new DFO's hired by Los Angeles Animal Services
PLEASE TAKE THE TIME TO READ ENTIRE POST BELOW (even if you have to do so in two sittings!)
Mark Salazar is one of the two new Directors of Field Operations(DFO) that Brenda Barnette and a panel of animal advocates chose for LA Animal Services. The other is a long time employee of LAAS named Jan Selder. FINALLY, these very important job slots, open for a very long time, are going to be filled so they can get to work!
The tone set by and the way the Director of Field Operations runs the department under the General Manager makes an enormous amount of difference in the success of the entire shelter system and is directly responsible for saving the lives of thousands of homeless animals.
The humane community should e-mail Barnette thanking her and her panel for having the courage to choose Mark Salazar (instead of a less competent LAAS employee to keep the 'status quo' happy.) They chose an outsider, which is virtually unheard of at LAAS, because he was apparently the best fit for the animals and the job. (ADL-LA does not know the names of the panel members who chose Salazar, but one of our sources in the LAAS admin office told us they were very bright animal people and we believe him.)
Of course when ADL-LA heard who was chosen, we weren't too thrilled about one of them being Captain Jan Selder. We have heard from many employees that she has no creativity and has a rigid military-type personality that does not go over well with the public nor her fellow employees. But considering Barnette's reputation and her panel of experts, ADL-LA has to conclude that Selder was the best of the worst within the candidates from the pool of LAAS employees who were allowed to apply. Sad isn't it? We're hoping that under Barnette's oversight, Selder will learn about No Kill and progressive management styles, lose her rigidity and maybe even develop some ideas that can be implemented to save the lives of animals!
But Mark Salazar sounds fantastic! Of course, we did some of our forensic research on Salazar when we first heard he had been chosen as one of the DFO's. ADL-LA members called the humane society in Longview, Texas, where he was the Manager of Operations starting in December 2009 and quickly promoted to the Executive Director. ADL-LA members spoke to three employees, two rescuers and two volunteers from HSNTX (Humane Society of North East Texas.) This is what they said about Salazar in their thick East Texas accents!
"He does things the California way, not like we're used to here in East Texas. For example, he's really outgoing and enthusiastic, we're a bit more subdued and take our time in East Texas so things can move pretty darn slow. But somehow when Mark first got here, he was able to bring together dozens of business people from the city to come out and paint our humane society bright colors over a weekend, since the paint was chipping off the walls and it was a mess. Past management didn't give a 'dang' about the animals or about the building they're housed in."
Another employee stated, "Mark gave one of the clerks the task of sending out a letter that he wrote personally to every single business and to as many homes as possible, saying ya'll stop on by and help us save animals." (ADL-LA notes, we were cracking up at some of the terms they use in Texas :<)
A volunteer told us, "Mark used his own money to buy a large flatscreen TV for the waiting area so that educational pet tips are played on a loop the entire time we're open. It was a great idea and it helps teach the public about animals as well as serves as a good way to keep the public occupied when we're busy and can't get to them quickly, cuz when Texans have to wait, they get ticked off. All I can say is that Mark is fair but holds staff accountable; if they're five minutes late to work, he wants to know why!"
The individuals we spoke to were very upset that he was leaving and moving back to California. One said and we quote, "I just hope that we don't go back to the way our humane society was run in previous years. Mark was just starting to turn this shelter around; but we always knew that Mark's heart was back in California. He just didn't like livin' here in bumbf*ck East Texas; but then again I don't either! I wish me and my family could move to sunny California!"
Apparently Mark had a job in Riverside as the head of Code Enforcement for the City and when he took the job, two incompetent and lazy employees were in the process of being fired. Mark had to do the firing when he started his job. These two female employees then sued Mark for unfounded harassment. We tracked down and spoke to one of the reporters who did a story on this (he would not go on record unless we waited to see if his boss would give him approval to talk to us on the record, but we didn't want to wait.) So do you know what he told us off the record? He said that both cases were bogus and everyone knew it, the cases were both resolved, closed and he said that even the city attorney in Riverside thought Salazar got the shaft and these allegations were completely unfounded. The journalist told us that the city attorney of Riverside even wrote a letter on Salazar's behalf recommending him for the DFO position in Los Angeles!
A few weeks ago, Phyllis Daugherty went in front of the Public Safety Committee and told them that Salazar sexually harassed women, which is completely unfounded and untrue. She also said he comes from a "high kill shelter." We bet Phyllis doesn't even know he had been the Executive Director of that humane society for less than a year! The Public Safety committee apparently believed Daugherty.
Dougherty could care less about high kill rates, she's known by some in the humane community as catch-and-kill. So why did she speak in opposition to Salazar when the Public Safety Committee was not even talking about the subject of the new DFOs at LAAS? We believe it's because she doesn't want a "Mexican" in such a high capacity role in our city shelter system, even though he's progressive, thinks outside the box, has a can-do attitude and loves animals.
Then to make things even worse, we heard from three sources inside the North Central shelter that Lieutenant William Tranzow (who is known for his old-school catch-and-kill mentality) was given print outs of this alleged but dismissed law suit by Daugherty and he then taped them to his office window facing outward! Tranzow ought to be fired over doing something as immature, unprofessional and prejudiced as this; he's a Lieutenant, not some elementary school bully (although we also hear he rarely shows up for work and when he does, he gets the Officer in Charge to do all his work for him.)This is typical of the way our shelter system has been run for decades. Old timers are very threatened by progressive newcomers, especially from the outside and will do anything to spread nasty rumors about them.
This proves once again what Barnette is dealing with at LAAS; a bunch of whining, old-school captains and lieutenants who, if they don't get what they want, use retaliation and retribution as their tactic. Yet there are some really good, smart and creative ACTs whose ideas are struck down by these old-timers because they have to go through the ludicrous and outdated "chain of command" that has been in place for years. These bright, creative ACTs can't move up because the old timers obstruct them and they are not allowed to go straight to Brenda Barnette with their ideas to save animals because of this silly "chain of command" that has been a policy at LAAS for decades.
A note to Ms. Barnette: This needs to change, and we're hoping that you will finally do something about this travesty that's been going on for years resulting in the needless killing of animals. These old-codger captains and lieutenants ought to be replaced with some of the younger, more energetic, passionate and progressive ACTs who are employed at LAAS. We can only assume that archaic policies put in place years ago are preventing this. ADL-LA will be doing more research on this topic in the coming months.
In closing, please send a thank you to Barnette for having the courage to choose an outsider who is progressive and has an enthusiastic "can do" attitude, and tell her that we hope she and the panel has the courage to allow Salazar to come on as DFO and help save animals even though Daugherty and some other old geezer lieutenants and captains are trying to obstruct Salazar's employment. You can e-mail Ms. Barnette at firstname.lastname@example.org