Herkimer County Humane Society: boosters not "officially" disbanded

HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - On Thursday, the Herkimer County Humane Society Executive Committee voted to dissolve their Booster Club as it now operates and form a new volunteer group under their own guidelines.

The motion to dissolve the boosters as it currently operates came after criticism by some board members about policies and procedures that they claim were not followed by the boosters at a recent fundraiser, The Cabin Fever Party.

The vote by the Executive Committee led to outspoken disappointment and criticism by members of the shelter's booster club. The booster club had raised roughly $15,000 for the shelter in 2011 and had already raised roughly $10,000 for the shelter for 2012, booster volunteers said.

The criticism of the motion made by the Executive Committee caused several board members to step down and speak to the media earlier in the week about the issue.

At a board meeting Thursday night, booster volunteers in attendance said they were told that while the motion was made by the Executive Committee, it still had to be voted upon by the general board of directors.

According to a letter NEWSChannel 2 received Saturday morning from the Herkimer County Humane Society, the Booster Club did not "officially disband" and because the shelter is a non-profit organization, they have to accurately account for financial issues.

The entire letter is as follows:

The board of directors held their monthly meeting on Thursday, April 12th to discuss the possible disbanding of the current booster club and the reorganization of our volunteer efforts. Of the many members of the public there to attend the meeting all who chose to were given to chance to state their concerns. The comments ranged from merely questioning our motives to the other end of the spectrum, with some people having very strongly worded negative statements to make. While the tone sometimes veered off from being polite and matter of fact, the board did sit and listen to and took to heart all that was said. One misconception that many people seemed to have is that the board does nothing but meet once a month and hand down rules. While some may choose to believe this for their own reasons, it couldn’t be further from the truth. We have always maintained that we are a working board, everyone sitting on the board takes an active role in the running of the shelter. There are those that write hundreds of thank you notes to families for donations or in memory of others. Other board members deal with staffing issues and general running of the shelter. We have a treasurer who handles all the money matters that keep our shelter going. Our time doesn’t stop with these few stated things. We are out in the community chairing events, speaking at schools, doing presentations to groups of county students in an all day event.

We, as a board have a deep love for the animals in our care. That is why we do what we do. We don’t care if people aren’t aware of all that goes on behind the scenes. Our job is not to seek accolades from people, our job is to take care of the well-being of animals, staff and building. We currently have 49 years of board experience on the board representing the HCHS. Some of us still work full time, then do their part for the shelter. People from all walks of life sit on this board, we don’t discriminate. As in any company or organization, there is turnover. Perhaps it seems to some that here it is more prevalent, however, everyone can only do so much and expend so much energy to the shelter. Those who chose to leave us often do so for various reasons some relating to health or time constraints, not because they were asked to leave.

As an organization that is federally listed as a non-for profit we must always be aware of how we handle our fundraising and our dealing with animals. Obtaining a 501c3 is not an easy task and we must be watchful that things are handled according to rules we ourselves must handle. Some of the people there perhaps didn’t know about the rules we work under and were only aware of a very upsetting and seemingly unfair idea from the board. The Boosters had a liaison on the board to disseminate any and all information necessary to them. In some cases this was not done, we have no idea why. Had the rules been followed, most of the issues would not have arisen.
The disbanding of the booster club was never official and the board has tabled the motion until we can compose our new guidelines for volunteering. The motion that the boosters received came from the Executive Committee of the board and was not official until presented to the full board. It should not have been sent to the boosters until after the April 12th meeting.

Change is difficult to fully understand and like many businesses, the Herkimer County Humane Society has found it necessary to reorganize our volunteer group in order to obtain long term viability of the shelter.

Reorganizing our volunteer group will assist in delivering the functions required to fill our operational efficiencies and our financial protocols understood by the Herkimer County Humane Society Board of Directors.

The board is confident the reorganization of our volunteer group will better align Herkimer County Humane Society in meeting all demands of the shelter and be sure we are compliant to all regulations and move the shelter forward and all those involved feel they are recognized, appreciated, and included in either spending an hour a month at the shelter or spending numerous hours in promoting adoption clinics, fund-raisers, education, etc.

The animals need everyone in whatever capacity they can perform and/or support."

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