Interim director removed at Sutter County Animal Shelter
Sutter County officials offered a variety of explanations Friday for the sudden removal of Animal Services Interim Manager Bob Clary from his position at the troubled county animal shelter.
Clary was replaced at the shelter by Megan Greve, senior analyst for the county. Clary will return to his primary role as an administrative services officer, according to Greve.
"He did a great job of getting things reorganized," Greve said of Clary's work at the shelter.
Greve said Clary had been put in charge of the shelter when it seemed his other duties for the county could be placed on hold.
"They (mistakenly) felt they could be without him for the year," she said.
Clary could not be reached for comment.
County spokesman Chuck Smith said Clary's removal was related to recent disagreements between the county and Yuba City over the future of a regional joint powers authority that now governs animal services.
The dispute revolves around terms and conditions of transferring or rehiring shelter employees from Sutter County's payroll to Yuba City's once a new animal shelter is built.
Both sides have said recently that the joint powers authority, which also includes Live Oak, is in jeopardy because of the issue concerning employees.
Clary had been tasked six months ago with righting the overcrowded and dilapidated animal shelter on Second Street in Yuba City.
Under Clary, marked improvements were made in the way animals are accounted and cared for there, according to UC Davis veterinarian and shelter consultant Kate Hurley.
"He's done a good job, but he's not an experienced shelter manager," Smith said on Friday. "He's been very earnest in his approach. He's done a great job making contacts and setting up adoption venues."
Smith said Clary's removal was not related to his performance.
"But it's time to get an experienced shelter person in there," the spokesman said.
Greve's background includes work for an animal shelter in Flagstaff, Ariz.
Like Clary, Greve's role at the shelter will be temporary. And her replacement will be considered temporary, too.
The county is seeking a new interim shelter manager with professional experience in the field, Smith said.
No permanent managerial role is currently being discussed by the county or the joint powers Sutter Animal Services Authority.
Hurley, a pioneer in animal shelter medicine, is still under contract with the SASA. Her role has been to advise ongoing changes in shelter operations.
She evaluated the shelter in early 2011 as part of a grand jury investigation.
Years of overcrowding and the lack of a medical program and shelter oversight led to frequent outbreaks of disease, resulting in high rates of in-kennel deaths and euthanasia, the jury found.
Management changes, facility upgrades, a vaccination program and a new volunteer rescue group have been credited with helping turn the corner this year at the facility.
The county has operated the shelter since its construction nearly 30 years ago, with funding from Yuba City and Live Oak, which contracted for its use.
Ironically, a new policy instituted by Clary bore fruit on Friday, the day he was removed. A temporary waiver of adoption fees for people who wished to adopt a dog met its projected goal of bringing the number of canines at the facility to below 40.
Friday, Greve said, "was one of the best adoption days we've ever had."
Eleven dogs and two cats were adopted that day.