Former U.S. Postal Service manager James Rogers will serve as the interim administrator for Memphis Animal Services, Mayor A C Wharton announced yesterday.
The shelter has been operating without a director since former director Matthew Pepper's resignation last August. Since then, the shelter has relocated to a new state-of-the-art facility on Appling City Cove. It's also been the subject of a recent police investigation into allegations that employees were starving dogs held in the court case area. Shelter critics held a protest last weekend at Highland and Poplar.
Rogers has no shelter experience, but Wharton said he chose him for his business and management background.
"[The city was looking for] someone with strong leadership qualities, who is very experienced and comfortable in operating a major facility and overseeing a large staff. Mr. Rogers fits the bill perfectly, and I am delighted that he was willing to accept our offer to serve in this capacity," Wharton said.
The Memphis native graduated from LeMoyne-Owen College with a master's degree in business administration. In his role as a senior manager for the U.S. Postal Service, Rogers oversaw 17 other managers, 48 supervisors, and more than 1,600 employees.
In a news release on the Rogers announcement, Wharton admitted the shelter has much work to be done, but he emphasized positive changes that have been made at MAS so far.
"We have increased our positive outcomes for animals to the highest level in the history of the shelter," Wharton said. " We have reduced the euthanasia rate to a 20 percent lower level when comparing 2011 with 2009. In one day, we moved every pet from the old facility to the new shelter. In our new facility, we have installed some 45 cameras that are linked to Memphis Police’s award-winning Real Time Crime Center. Along the way, we have been able to root out irresponsible employees and fix broken internal systems.”