Ad Hoc Group, Humane Society Board Exploring Middle Ground

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The fur was flying again Thursday night as Pet Pals and would-be members of the Payson Humane Society met for the second time to air their concerns about the organization.

Their frustrations were alleviated, though, at least in part by the assurance of Bob Scott, husband of Humane Society board president Gloria Scott, that the board is willing to meet with the ad-hoc committee.

The society's board of directors has been the subject of criticism since the Jan. 28 resignation of animal shelter manager Cindy Bradford and the subsequent resignations of the rest of the shelter staff.

Since then, Humane Society members and Bradford supporters have attempted to reach a resolution with the board that would return the Bradfords to their jobs at the shelter.

"We are close to pulling off a meeting with the board this week," said Carol Lydec, ad-hoc committee spokesperson.

The ad-hoc committee recently devised a position paper to present to the board, listing a few points they wish the board to consider. Those are:

  • Consider reinstating Cindy Bradford and the shelter staff should she and/or the others so request. If money is the issue, the committee resolves to help the board raise funds to keep the staff at its current pay.
  • Improve the public image of the board. In recent weeks, members were turned away when requests were made for society records. The committee suggests an open-door policy for its meetings, minutes and financial records.
  • Better define the rights of society members. The committee is also seeking a change in the way board members are selected, allowing for membership input, as opposed to the current self-perpetuating board.

Other questions were raised at the Thursday night meeting about society bylaws and policies. Lydec said her committee may also suggest the board allow a few members to help with a bylaw revision.

At the suggestion of one audience member, the committee urged those who were withholding their donations or membership fees to pay them as soon as possible, so the animals don't suffer because of the conflict.

While members expressed fears and concerns about the future of the humane society, Lydec stressed the importance of giving the board a chance to respond to the requests.

"This is a time of fence-mending," she said. "I feel in my heart that they're going to follow through."

Board member Jim Phinney said the board has forwarded the paper to their attorney. "Tomorrow night, we are meeting with the (five ad-hoc committee members) after we get that advice from our attorney."

With the joint meeting between the board and the committee scheduled for this week, an ad-hoc committee update has been tentatively set for 6 p.m. March 18.

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