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Humane society clears air with membership

Amid furor from some Guelph Humane Society board members over the recent termination of its former executive director, board president Simon McLatter has explained the termination in a mailing to members.

Professional ethics prevents the board from divulging details of Elizabeth Bonkink’s termination, said McLatter in the letter. However, an attached frequently-asked-questions section offered the following explanation for why she was terminated.

“In 2007, the Guelph Humane Society undertook a strategic planning exercise, with input from board members, staff and volunteers,” it said.

“One result from that process was the recommendation to have a general manager who reports to an executive director, with specific responsibilities for each role. A primary focus for the executive director would be fundraising and corporate development, while the general manager would oversee the shelter operations and animal health care.”

The explanation goes on to say that “while this plan worked well on paper, it soon became apparent that it was not financially practical to support two senior management positions, particularly in these difficult economic times.”

Bonkink was terminated without cause in late April. Jane McCamus was hired as interim general manager, the letter said.

In response to calls for an open general meeting to discuss the termination, the letter said “the board feels it would be inappropriate to call an open general meeting on this matter, since the agreement between the Guelph Humane Society and the former executive director has been accepted by both parties. Further details of this agreement cannot be discussed, for reasons of HR confidentiality.”

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