Below is an article about Philly PAWS, the organization that runs the municipal shelter. In the past I used Philly as an example of what can be accomplished in a short time, as expressed in this article. Philly went from 20% live save to 60% in about two years.
A few months ago Winograd attacked PAWS director, Tara Derby and also the head of a private shelter who wanted the city animal services contract.
Nathan never really expressed why he attacked Derby and PAWS' progress under her reign.
I did talk to PAWS previous Chief Operating Officer, Due Cosby, who quit 9 months ago. Back then Sue denied to me that anything was wrong with the Philly operation.
When I more recently emailed her, she said she didn't want to comment.
Anyway, this article points out some of the criticisms of Derby as well as Nathan's complaints. I think there is a lot more going on here than meets the eye or reaches the press. Why is Nathan in such a snit?
Trouble with PACCA's top cat?
By Stu Bykofsky
Philadelphia Daily News
IN THE animal-welfare world, "rescuers" are animal guardian angels, usually individuals or nonprofit groups that "rescue" doomed dogs, cats and other animals from shelters, rehabilitate them and find them homes. When they rescue, they use the term "pull," as in to pull an animal out of the shelter.
Rescue is vitally important to any shelter, but especially to a high-volume shelter, such as Philadelphia's inadequate facility at 111 West Hunting Park Ave., which handles 30,000 dogs and cats annually.
In an interview with me four years ago, Tara Derby, chief executive of the Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Association, acknowledged the importance of rescue groups, many of which were made to feel unwelcome at PACCA by the previous administration. When she took over in April 2005, Derby vowed to work closely with rescue groups, and things have improved. On March 9, PACCA sponsored a party at the shelter to thank its 130 rescue partners, "our best customers," Derby calls them.
But some rescue groups have peeled away, imperiling the lives of some doomed dogs and cats in the shelter.
Several of these groups complained to me about a lack of focus at PACCA, and about confused standards there.
Example: Many rescue groups are tax-exempt nonprofits, registered with the state and known as 501(c)3s. I heard complaints that PACCA says that it will deal only with 501(c)3s, but then hands animals to groups without 501(c)3 paperwork.
Derby admits that "our policy has changed from time to time," resulting in confusion. She prefers to deal with 501(c)3s, but will allow groups without the registration to take animals from the shelter - if they have paperwork from a veterinarian who will vouch for them.
Example: Some rescuers complained that paperwork on dogs being held for them is not always completed when they arrive. Sometimes the animal they have come to collect has been handed to someone else.
Derby says that PACCA sometimes doesn't have the paperwork prepared, due to the volume of animals it handles. In other cases, she says, rescuers may come to the shelter without first calling, thus leading to delay when they arrive. She always prefers to give the animal to the rescue group that can arrive soonest.
The situation with disappointed rescuers came to a boil when community-programs coordinator Meghan Garber left on maternity leave in February. There was no replacement ready to take over the vital role of communicating with rescuers, leading to mass confusion and dogs being put down because no one was calling rescuers to get them out.
When I asked Derby - who readily answered all questions put to her and provided all requested documents - how that could have happened, she gave a long answer that didn't fix the blame. In a separate interview, PACCA's chief operating officer, Doug Rae, hired last August, told me, "I'll take the heat for that."
A plan that he thought was in place to have volunteers fill the breach didn't materialize, which led to several weeks of chaos. The problem was resolved when Natalie Smith, who had been an unpaid volunteer, accepted the hectic, life-saving job of community-programs coordinator.
When management makes a mistake, the buck stops with Derby, 34, who supervises 63 full- and part-time employees, and some 900 volunteers.
Complaints have been leveled against her, the harshest coming from nationally known kennel-management expert Nathan Winograd, who was hired to do a deep analysis of PACCA in February 2005. After turning in his report, which included a blueprint for the future, he approved of Derby's selection to run PACCA despite her lack of shelter experience.
He now thinks Derby should resign.
In e-mail interviews with me, Winograd laid out a bill of particulars.
One Winograd complaint that echoed what I'd heard from many others is that Derby is "never there" at the shelter.
"During Tara's first eight months or so, she was the first one in and the last one to leave," Winograd says.
Last year, Winograd says, Derby "claimed to have endless meetings and so spent little time in the shelter, came in late, left early, spent her time holed in her office."
Rather than respond to individual accusations, Derby says, "I would rather focus my efforts on saving animals than consider why or why not the individual likes me or doesn't like me or supports me or doesn't support me." She says her time off was within normal parameters.
In 2006, Derby took off several weeks after her mother died and her marriage broke up. Since she is not required to punch a time clock, there is no indisputable record of the days and hours she worked.
Without accepting Winograd's assessment, COO Rae, whose office is next to Derby's, says, "Tara is here in the building a lot more than she used to be."
When I laid the allegations of absences before new PACCA Board President John Martini, he was hearing them for the first time. He says that he has a "world of confidence" in Derby, that it would be "very unusual" to ask a CEO to clock in, but if it has become an issue, he says, "it's something [the board] would consider doing."
Winograd also says that the animal save-rate is 50 percent on days Derby is in charge and 70 percent on days when Rae makes the life-and-death calls. Rae declined to comment on Winograd's numbers, but concedes that he and Derby had disagreements about when a dog is too dangerous to be adopted.
"I have an opinion about what an aggressive dog is, Tara has an opinion about what an aggressive dog is, but today we're closer to the center," Rae says.
Without dispute, the save-rate has more than tripled since Derby was hired in 2005, from less than 20 percent to more than 60 percent. When she was hired, Derby's announced goal was to make Philly a "no-kill" city within 10 years. Realistically, that would mean an 85 percent save-rate.
Winograd moans that Philadelphia was "so close" to "no-kill," and actually gives the lion's share of the praise to Rae, even though Rae has been at PACCA only nine months. In fairness, I must add that Winograd has his own fearsome critics.
In the animal-welfare world, finger-pointing is an art form. *
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 215-854-5977.
It is obvious that the behaviors cited by Nathan are an indication of severe depression, which is understandable given Derby's mothers death and failed marriage within a few months of each other. What to do about it depends on your perspective. I am very concerned that Nathan attacked Tara so strongly and publically. There are better ways of doing it. I don't know what got into him. Even Boks never pointed a finger at employees. He did point a finger at Mayeda once, and in that case I agreed with him totally.
It sound sto me like there is something personal going on here beyond just her performance. Or, it could be Nathan thinks her performance reflects badly on him and he is publically distancing himself.