Something off about animal shelter director's defense against bullying allegations | Turkeys & Trophies - petsitterbank

Something off about animal shelter director’s defense against bullying allegations | Turkeys & Trophies

TURKEY

Even if we give Center for Animal Health and Welfare Executive Director Kelly Bauer the benefit of the doubt and take her word that the allegations of her bullying employees are “absolutely false,” there’s still something that doesn’t add up. Bauer, who runs the no-kill shelter in Williams Township, was the target of more than a dozen complaints from concerned citizens, some of whom were former shelter volunteers and staffers, during a virtual public meeting last week. They claimed her behavior has created an environment where people don’t want to work, which has at times left the facility understaffed to the point that animals aren’t getting proper care. Here’s the thing: Bauer knew ahead of the meeting that these complaints would be made; a media report published that morning and Facebook group launched a month earlier essentially gave her the complainers’ playbook. Yet, when the public comment portion of the meeting started that night, Bauer and the center board’s president stated they wouldn’t be giving any immediate responses, instead opting to provide written responses at a later date. If Bauer knew of the allegations ahead of time and did nothing wrong, how could she not be prepared to defend herself during the meeting? Perhaps it was on the advice of legal counsel, but that’s a lousy excuse for a person in power who’s innocent of any wrongdoing. She did give an interview to lehighvalleylive.com two days after the meeting, but some of her statements veered into the ugly territory of bashing the complainers rather than addressing the complaints. To be clear, this doesn’t mean Bauer’s a bully, but it does point to someone in a key leadership role who might not be equipped to lead.

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Finding a government agency that actually wants more public engagement and takes steps to make that happen is like finding an open stretch of road on Route 22 during rush-hour traffic. We didn’t think it existed. But the Lehigh Valley Transportation Study, which decides how transportation funding is spent in Lehigh and Northampton counties, surprised us. The agency has decided to keep its public meetings virtual at a time when many other agencies are returning to in-person meetings. The virtual option became the de facto option at the height of the COVID pandemic, but now that the pandemic has subsided, most are turning off the cameras. Resuming in-person meetings is a good call, but why kill the virtual option altogether when it’s demonstrated improved participation? That was the thinking of the LVTS, which experienced a nearly 100% attendance rate of its Technical and Coordinating committee members since switching to virtual in 2020. Public participation has also slightly increased. “Public engagement is really what these meetings are about,” Northampton County Executive Lamont McClure, a committee member, said. “These are the folks who are going to be sitting in the traffic based on the decisions we’re making at these meetings.” We couldn’t agree more.

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