Norfolk administration needs to get its act together over its animal shelter – The Virginian-Pilot

Re “Norfolk has allowed the director of its animal shelter to relocate to Florida and work remotely. Then she got a second job. (August 30): Just learned that the most senior position recently promoted to the city-run animal shelter of Norfolk, the former director of operations for four years, was drawing an $85,500 salary while working at distance in Florida with the blessing of a Norfolk official. That’s about as outrageous as it gets. It’s also a blessing in disguise for the citizens who demand accountability for past and present foolish decisions at the shelter.

In 2018, the competent long-term manager was fired by the Norfolk administration in order to launch a “no-killing” policy, ending euthanasia because this madness was mainly advocated by cat colony supporters wild. About five years later, state regulators cited the shelter for animal rule violations and inhumane treatment. This was all to be expected, and apparently the goons in the city administration are still making crazy decisions about how to handle the employees of the town’s animal shelter. The City Manager oversees administration, and the elected officials who hired the City Manager in the first place all owe the citizens of Norfolk answers, clarifications, action, and smarter government in the future.

Pet owners have a stake in running the town’s shelter, as lost pets are expected to be well cared for until the owner retrieves them. The Norfolk Animal Care Center says they have now resolved the breaches, but trust is scarce at this point.

Georgette Constant, Norfolk

Re “Norfolk has allowed the director of its animal shelter to relocate to Florida and work remotely. Then she got a second job. (August 30): The gist of the story is that the director of the Norfolk city-run animal shelter has been granted permission to work remotely and move to Florida, but possibly outside unbeknownst to either employer, since July she had been working another job at a Florida animal shelter, while drawing her annual salary of $85,500 from the city of Norfolk. According to the article, “A Norfolk spokesperson said (Jennifer) Held had not informed the city of her other work and that she no longer works for the city.”

Aside from the obvious points the article made, I couldn’t help but make another observation: our society has its horribly wrong priorities. We pay the manager of an animal shelter (who can perform their duties remotely, with little or no supervision) $85,500 per year. On the other hand, we expect those who strap on a gun every day and face God knows what in their job, under constant scrutiny, to execute every move flawlessly – and do it for 50 $000 per year. And one wonders why it is difficult to interest people in police work. Go figure.

Lucian Colley, Virginia Beach

On ‘Gruden ashamed of his emails’ (September 1): Former Raiders coach Jon Gruden says he’s ashamed of the offensive emails that cost him his job and wants another opportunity in football.

For seven years, the emails contained homophobic, racist and misogynistic comments, which were published by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. What about him dropping other years of email because he’s now ashamed of it despite working mostly with African-American players?



The best opinion content of the week and the opportunity to participate in a weekly question on a subject that affects our region.

Being a good person, going to church and being married for 31 doesn’t change your heart and mind deep down inside. For him to sue the NFL for his conduct is shameful; put simply, he wants another paycheck because he got caught. If NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell got or saw anything from a player or coach, he should come clean and get rid of such behavior.

Ray Patel, Chesapeake

On “Student Debt Reduction is an Investment in Our Future” (Our Views, August 30): I was disappointed to see this document endorsing the multi-billion dollar gift of the President’s student loan “pardon”. More concerning was the statement diminishing as “unnecessary” the concerns of many people who have repaid their loans and expect others to do the same. Using a term favored by this article, where is the “fairness” in excusing student loans for people who voluntarily signed up to pay them off while ignoring other types of loans – mortgage, auto, credit cards , etc. – owned by others?

Forgiving student loans does nothing to support the common good. What it accomplishes is that, first, students will be encouraged to take out increasingly expensive loans by providing for their forgiveness, and second, colleges will be encouraged to continue charging exorbitant tuition, counting also on the pardon of the government.

The editorial could have focused on out-of-sight tuition fees and the tendency to grant unnecessary degrees. For example, East Tennessee State University offers a degree in storytelling.

You state that society must “work together so that everyone as a whole can move forward”. This loan transfer (not the forgiveness) does not do that. Moving forward means that every member of society is responsible for their actions. This does not mean that a privileged sector of society, already possessing a university degree, is exempt from legally binding debts. This whole agenda is nothing but a blatant attempt to buy votes ahead of the midterm elections. If a Republican president had done this, the newspaper would not have endorsed it.

Bill Wallace, Gloucester

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