Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Alderman Resigns As McKamey Board Chairman

Alderman Resigns As McKamey Board Chairman
by Judy Frank
posted February 9, 2009

Dan Alderman, who replaced founding chair Barby Wilson as head of the board of directors of the Animal Care Trust, resigned from that position Monday.

His resignation comes just eight days ago after McKamey’s executive director, veterinarian Dr. Amanda Wojtalik-Courter, resigned from her position.

"I have been a longtime supporter of Dr. Amanda and her vision for the McKamey Center," Mr. Alderman said.

"Now that she is leaving to return to private practice, the center will be going through a transition period to new leadership. As a member of the 'old guard' on the Animal Care Trust board, it seems a natural time for me to step aside so new leadership on the board can manage this new phase at the center."

The board chairman apparently resigned from the board itself as well as the chairmanship.

This past weekend, McKamey’s website listed Animal Care Trust officials as: Dan Alderman, Chair; Ann Ball, Vice Chair; Jack Kruesi, Treasurer; Mary Dubé, Secretary; and Marie Chinery, City of Chattanooga representative.

Monday evening, however, the list had been changed to read: Ann Ball, Chair; Jack Kruesi, Treasurer; Mary Dubé, Secretary; and Marie Chinery, City of Chattanooga representative.

Mr. Alderman also is not included on the list of members in the new version.

Two members’ names, Katrina Craven and Ellen Whittaker, also were missing from the list posted Monday evening.

Members of the Animal Care Trust – which oversees McKamey Animal Center – have been reworking their 2008-2009 budget, seeking ways to reduce expenses while dealing with huge numbers of abandoned, unwanted and stray animals from throughout the city.

McKamey treasurer Jack Kruesi has been spearheading the budget review. This weekend Mr. Kruesi said his review was nearly complete, and had been turned over to Mr. Alderman.

According to Mr. Kruesi, McKamey is on sound financial footing. He said the center’s past problems arose from the fact that its opening coincided with kitten season, so that it was inundated with more animals than originally expected.

“As with other agencies faced with overcrowding, we tried to solve the problem by pouring labor to it,” he explained.

Now the 2008 kitten season is just a memory and the number of animals in McKamey – which once swelled to about 850 – is now about 435, or about 20 percent below capacity.

Consequently, the center has been able to reduce the number of full-time and part-time employees from between 40 and 45 to slightly more than 30.

He said board members and employees already are planning for this year’s kitten season, which will begin this spring. Currently plans are to make widespread use of regular volunteers to help care for the anticipated influx of animals.

The bulk of McKamey’s operating funds, about $1 million, comes from its contract with the City of Chattanooga. Since the center receives only 8.5 percent, or about 1/12, of that total each month, he said, it still has adequate funding.

Board members of the Animal Care Trust will meet from 5-6 p.m. Wednesday at McKamey Center. The meeting, as are all board meetings, is open to the public.

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