City, Rotarians Team Up for Animal Shelter Fix


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Largely overlooked during the sturm und drang concerning the eyeball-to-eyeball confrontation between the Memphis City Schools board and the Memphis City Council and, later, by the runup to this week’s debt-limits legislation in Washington was a piece of good news on the local front — especially for those who believe in the reality of public-private partnerships .

This was the agreement recently reached between the City of Memphis and the Memphis Rotary Club whereby the Rotarians — who include a significant number of CPAs, management types, and veterinarians — will commit themselves to the resolution of various problems and controversies plaguing the city’s Animal Shelter.

A letter from Rotary president John Coats to Mayor A C Wharton, who would appear at a press conference with Rotarians to announce the deal, spells things out:

"...Initially, we would like to offer, at no cost to the city or taxpayers, to do a management study of the Memphis Animal Shelter. Our varied membership of business professionals counts numerous CPAs, attorneys and business owners, with a wealth of invaluable intellectual capital to offer. A cursory glance at our volunteers for this project would show at least 360 cumulative years of business expertise that could benefit the basic operations of the shelter.

"We propose that we would do a 60-day study of the operation, encompassing management, administration, operations, accounting, community image, and community outreach. The resulting report would then be delivered to your office and to any other person(s) you designate. Also, in the interest of full transparency, it is our intention to make our recommendations available for public view on our website.

"We only ask that your office notify the shelter that our volunteers would be making multiple visits to the shelter and would expect their full cooperation. Further, we know that you have a community advisory board in place, but please know that we will operate independently and not under the supervision of this board. Our findings and analysis should remain objective to the operation...."

Coats’ letter goes on to indicate the Club is “looking at additional ways our members can become involved with the shelter, including hosting of adoption days or possible work with summer internships.” A contingent of some 15 Rotarians arfe “standing ready to assist,” Coats said. “Also, we have been in contact with and have agreed to work closely with the Memphis/Shelby County Veterinary Medical Association in determining the best practices to benefit the shelter.”

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