Monday, March 21, 2011

More Management Changes At The THS

Continuing Toronto Humane Society dogfights have resulted in the latest CEO’s axing — not just from the job, but from the beleaguered agency.

Garth Jerome’s dismissal prompted two volunteer board members to quit in protest, the Toronto Sun has learned. Sources said Friday the new board appointed Jerome, a well-respected, well-liked veteran THS biologist, as an administrator last summer. “He did his best, but was not an experienced supervisor,” one source said, adding Jerome was required to dismiss several employees. Instead of him getting another THS job, he was replaced by an interim CEO. Board treasurer Ian Wintrip and member Garnet Siddall then quit. A permanent CEO’s appointment is expected at the society’s annual meeting May 31.

Siddall said “the trigger” for her resigning was “the decision by the board to terminate Garth’s role. “I had been working closely with Garth on a project and felt that he was doing his level best to make the THS a better place,” she wrote in an e-mail, adding “he could have had a future there.” Siddall and 10-month president Michael Downey cited confidentiality for not disclosing reasons for Jerome leaving.

In a February release announcing interim CEO Christopher Barry’s appointment, Downey said “over the last three years, we have gone through incredible change,” so the board decided the THS needed “a new management.” Jerome, who Downey said he met recently, “is doing very well” and is helping interim CEO Christopher Barry with undisclosed projects. He denied rumours of the 25,000-square foot River St. facility being for sale. Jerome was not expected at home until late.

Almost one-third the THS’s members resigned after an Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals raid in November 2009 in which then-THS president Tim Trow and chief veterinarian Steve Sheridan were arrested. Accused of animal cruelty, their charges were dropped last August. Other employees were barred, but some returned while the OSPCA ran the facility, where animal numbers were reduced.
Several staffers were dismissed after a new board’s election last May, led by OSPCA supporter Linda MacKinnon, who campaigned as part of the small Association for the Reform of The Toronto Humane Society.

MacKinnon, who referred an interview request to Downey, was described by sources as combative and unpopular with many employees. One source said disgruntled members are trying to get Trow re-elected. New THS bylaws are expected to be announced March 30.
ian.robertson@sunmedia.ca
*The Toronto Sun