Marin Humane Society expels two board members amid controversy over executive director

The Marin Humane Society's board of directors voted at a special meeting last week to expel two of its 11 members after months of divisive debate over how to respond to staff complaints about the management style of the organization's executive director, Suzanne Golt. Full Story
MirandaC

Elyria, OH

#70 Nov 13, 2010
If we are all honest we have to admit that we know very little about the internal conflict at Marin Humane Society. WHAT WE DO KNOW IS THIS: MHS is a wonderful humane agency, providing top-notch services to animals in need and helping the people of Marin County and beyond. This is the result of passional hard work of the staff, the volunteers, the board (in the broadest sense) and the community. In the course of life of a long-term humane agency, or any other, there will be points of organizational upheaval. Organizations come to crossroads from which they either step up and move to the next wave of accomplishments of their mission or they can get stuck or even move backwards.
If you love the animals and if you love the accomplishments of Marin Humane you will help usher in a bright future, allow them to sort through this situation, and show some appreciation and confidence. To do anything else is to partake in
very destructive and inhumane behavior.
In Marin

United States

#71 Nov 13, 2010
168 Thousand a Year wrote:
Is $168,000 enough rip-off of donations. Another example of non-profits begging for money just to line the pockets of administrators.
Exactly. Donors should definitely check ANY non-profit's Annual Report before donating any money. The Executive Director of the non-profit where I work makes almost $60,000.00 for a part time position. MOST donations pay salaries and overhead expenses. If you make a donation, request it to be earmarked for a specific cause within the organization.
Dog Speaks

United States

#72 Nov 13, 2010
MirandaC wrote:
If we are all honest we have to admit that we know very little about the internal conflict at Marin Humane Society. WHAT WE DO KNOW IS THIS: MHS is a wonderful humane agency, providing top-notch services to animals in need and helping the people of Marin County and beyond. This is the result of passional hard work of the staff, the volunteers, the board (in the broadest sense) and the community. In the course of life of a long-term humane agency, or any other, there will be points of organizational upheaval. Organizations come to crossroads from which they either step up and move to the next wave of accomplishments of their mission or they can get stuck or even move backwards.
If you love the animals and if you love the accomplishments of Marin Humane you will help usher in a bright future, allow them to sort through this situation, and show some appreciation and confidence. To do anything else is to partake in
very destructive and inhumane behavior.
Baaaloney. These people, making hundreds of thousands with rich benefits and government type retirement plans, don't do a thing for the love of animals. They have slaughtered a fat hog and they are feasting.

Volunteers and donors: You are suckers and you ought to force the issue yourselves. You have all of the power.

Staff: Low paid staff members will never say a thing. This is no open and HONEST institution. Silence comes from FEAR.
Laugher

United States

#73 Nov 13, 2010
joseph Churchhill wrote:
<quoted text>
Wow you are clueless. Check out what Red Cross executives make. And while you are at it look up what a nonprofit really means (spend the money).
Do your homework first. The Red Cross has a $3.5 BILLION budget - 91% goes to services so don't complain that all that money goes to fat cats. They employ 3,000 people. Their president made $446,000 last year which is nothing for an organization of that magnitude.
andy

San Rafael, CA

#74 Nov 13, 2010
Oscar the Grouch wrote:
To begin with, the county's contracting with a private non-profit organization to provide LAW ENFORCEMENT peace officer services (the "puppy police") when that non-profit's contract is dependent, expressly or impliedly, on fines and prosecutions generated by that private organization is flat out WRONG and it always has been. The MHS, once a fine organization, has in recent years been taken over by a cabal that uses the power derived from the organization's police powers to further its own interests and political agenda. It's a sick bunch down there.(The article fails to mention the mysterious circumstances surrounding the ouster of the their last, and very short termed, executive director, recruited from the Humane Society of the United States, an affiliate of FBI identified domestic terrorist outfits like PETA and the Animal Liberation Front. Consider this latest dust-up the tip of the iceberg, folks.
I just love it when they start feeding on their own young!
Thats funny, they have had the contract for 100 yrs serving as humane officers for whiners like you.
andy

San Rafael, CA

#75 Nov 13, 2010
If you believe this article written by a reporter that obviously did not check his facts then shame on you!!
If you decide to no longer support or donate to this organisation you are only affecting one thing, the rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of hundreds of animals domestic and wild.Do not be selfish.
Dog Speaks

United States

#76 Nov 13, 2010
andy wrote:
If you believe this article written by a reporter that obviously did not check his facts then shame on you!!
If you decide to no longer support or donate to this organisation you are only affecting one thing, the rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of hundreds of animals domestic and wild.Do not be selfish.
You tell 'em Andy. Why that money is for the doggies and the little kitties. Those Humane people donate their rich salaries back and they are waiving their retirements - retirements that none of us working in the real economy can get. Hey, at what age do they retire, anyway? They are not feasting on fat hogs at all. They are selfless saints and we should be ashamed for pointing out what a strangle hold they have on the MHS or how much money they take from the doggies and kitties. Why just think of what they give up by being executives and administrators at the MHS. How much do you think they could make in the real economy?
jumper

Sonoma, CA

#77 Nov 13, 2010
rottlover wrote:
I get the fact that this is news, cause money talks. But what happened to the rotwielar that the officer beat up in the parking lot, two weeks ago? What happened to that dog? Can we get some news about that?
thats a secret
Ms Daisy

Sonoma, CA

#78 Nov 13, 2010
andy wrote:
If you believe this article written by a reporter that obviously did not check his facts then shame on you!!
If you decide to no longer support or donate to this organisation you are only affecting one thing, the rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of hundreds of animals domestic and wild.Do not be selfish.
Oh, the reporter did check the facts, in fact left many out. But, you are right about the animals in need and the great service done by everyone (most) at MHS. I hope that the public can see that Golt needs to GO! The organization does not need a tyrant leading that place.
Dog Speaks

United States

#79 Nov 13, 2010
jumper wrote:
<quoted text>
thats a secret
Jumper, does the MHS have a gas chamber?
Kevin

San Rafael, CA

#80 Nov 13, 2010
Laugher wrote:
<quoted text>
Yeah right...I dare you to show me ONE nonprofit executive who is living fat and happily ever after with loads of cash. Too funny for words.
You do realize that the New York Stock Exchange is a non-profit business?
http://www.allbusiness.com/legal/3604563-1.ht...

AAA auto club is a non-profit business.

"Non-profit" is simply a business status for the IRS and there are limits on CEO compensation, but don't think the salaries have to be under six figures.
MirandaC

Elyria, OH

#81 Nov 13, 2010
Dear Dog Speaks,

If you actually believe that shelter staff are making millions and have fat government retirement plans then you need to back this claim up with actual evidence. You could go to the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators most recent survey of wages and salaries in animal welfare. Further, Marin boasts a very very high percentage of funds going directly to programs.

For all you animal lovers out there...it is a matter of humane discourse to make sure you base your opinions on facts versus sourceless claims. If there have been problems affecting MHS's executive and board leadership, these problems need to be solved. But the point is to "cure the disease to save the patient" NIOT "treat the disease and kill the patient."

Do any of you REALLY want people to stop funding rescues, adoptions, S/N services, humane law enforcement, education, shelter medicine, cleaning?

Let's hope not.

Since: May 10

Location hidden

#82 Nov 13, 2010
Many of the comment authors here are missing the point of the article and why it is newsworthy.

First, Richard Halstead is probably the most balanced, experienced and accurate reporter working for the Marin IJ.

Second, the story and the controversy deserve this much attention and follow-through, because of MHS' relationship with the county government and the public funds used to run this organization.

Accountability is the key here, and our elected officials who approve the contracts with these type of organizations are obligated to know how taxpayer money is being spent.
Bunny

Novato, CA

#83 Nov 13, 2010
belvborn wrote:
We got our Henry, a wonderful Chihuahua mix, there 4 years ago.The staff is wonderful, as are all the volunteers who helped us. If something is rotten there, it is definitely at the top of the food chain. Who makes $160,000 working for a non-profit? Sounds like it's time to clean house, or rather "sift the litter" and get someone in who leads well and fosters harmony and trust.
I counldn't agree more!

"Who makes $160,000 working for a non-profit?" This is insane!!

I will not donate one red cent to these people...... dirt bags!
Gone to the Dogs

Novato, CA

#84 Nov 13, 2010
MHS Donor wrote:
I am glad this is all out in the open. Sounds like Mary and Grace were trying to do what is best for MHS and the animals and since the rest of the Board didn't agree they ousted them. Since when did it become a problem to have a dissenting opinion? Seems like Mary and Grace need to be running the Board; Polly and Suzanne need to be gone immediately. Know many who volunteer at MHS and it seems very clear all the negative things about Suzanne are true. Maybe now something will be done. I commend Grace and Mary for standing up for what is right and not colluding!!!
I won't contribute again until Suzanne is gone! And maybe not until Polly steps down.
Ditto! I couldn't agree more.

I won't contribute either until Suzanne is gone.
Kevin

San Rafael, CA

#85 Nov 13, 2010
Bunny wrote:
<quoted text>
I counldn't agree more!
"Who makes $160,000 working for a non-profit?" This is insane!!
I will not donate one red cent to these people...... dirt bags!
This is not your grandfather's economy.
Some Public employees make great salaries and have even better pensions.
Non-profit executives make great money.

If you're a paper pusher / exec member, you're golden.
If you a front line worker, things may not be so rosy.
Don't take it out on the MHS members at the counter.

That is the new reality.

Go adopt a puppy. I've done it twice.
Dog Speaks

United States

#86 Nov 13, 2010
MirandaC wrote:
Dear Dog Speaks,
If you actually believe that shelter staff are making millions and have fat government retirement plans then you need to back this claim up with actual evidence. You could go to the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators most recent survey of wages and salaries in animal welfare. Further, Marin boasts a very very high percentage of funds going directly to programs.
For all you animal lovers out there...it is a matter of humane discourse to make sure you base your opinions on facts versus sourceless claims. If there have been problems affecting MHS's executive and board leadership, these problems need to be solved. But the point is to "cure the disease to save the patient" NIOT "treat the disease and kill the patient."
Do any of you REALLY want people to stop funding rescues, adoptions, S/N services, humane law enforcement, education, shelter medicine, cleaning?
Let's hope not.
Miranda,

Read the article. What do we care about national surveys. We are talking about the MHS where we know what the pay is for the top dog.
Fed Up

San Jose, CA

#87 Nov 13, 2010
Bunny wrote:
<quoted text>
I counldn't agree more!
"Who makes $160,000 working for a non-profit?" This is insane!!
I will not donate one red cent to these people...... dirt bags!
About 20 years ago, there was a big scandal over the CEO's pay at United Way. He had put his girlfriend on the payroll, making big bucks and she didn't even come into the office. After that, there was more scrutiny, but it appears it's "back to usual business" for these folks. As others have said, donors need to be more vigilant about checking the expenses of an organization before making donations. Also, when they mail the appeals asking for money, I guess we need to take the time to write back and tell them why they're not getting a check!
Time for Change

New Almaden, CA

#88 Nov 13, 2010
Let's make some changes IMMEDIATELY and get back to the business of helping the animals!
Former MHS Donor

Watsonville, CA

#89 Nov 13, 2010
After reading this article and the letter to the editor by the Board President, I decided to check a few definitions of what the actual duties of a board director actually are.

I find numerous requirements of loyalty to the organization, a requirement to avoid all conflicts of interest, duties to exercise a high standard of care and diligence, and above all, a duty to always act in good faith. No where could I find a requirement to act "collegially."

The board president justifies the first action in 103 years to dismiss two board members as a necessary action for the board to "function in an effective and collegial way." In other words, she wants a board that does not question, that does not protest decisions that appear to be wrong, and rather prefers one that meekly accepts whatever mandate or policy the President and ED present.

I submit that Marin County deserves more -- as a taxpayer, I would like a less submissive board watching where and how the $3,000,000.00 (fully half of the MHS budget is Marin County tax money) of taxpayer money sent to this vendor is being used.

Former Donor

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