By Elise Franco
and Denise Dick
Former Animal Charity employee Kyle Zeigler will begin work as humane agent on Monday.
Gary Pilcher, chairman of the Animal Charity board, said the board reached out to Zeigler Thursday, asking him to fill the humane agent position. Zeigler accepted the job Friday and will begin work Monday.
Joe Borosky and Nikole Baringer formerly had the positions of humane agent and chief executive officer, respectively, but lost their jobs Jan. 10 after the board decided it would no longer provide those services because of financial problems. Two part-time animal caretakers also were let go.
A temporary financial resolution seemed to come just two days later however, after philanthropists Anthony and Mary Lariccia of Boardman announced they would contribute $50,000 annually until the agency regains its financial footing.
Pilcher said Zeigler’s professionalism and positive attitude, and the fact that he’s well-known within the agency, were all factors in his hiring.
“We’re looking for someone with good bedside manners, among other things, and that’s his temperament,” he said. “I think we’re going to have a new and improved Animal Charity real quick.”
Zeigler will make $11 per hour and work a 40-hour work week, Pilcher said.
He said Zeigler’s termination, which happened last summer, was one of the first indications that something was wrong within the agency. Zeigler worked as a humane agent under Borosky.
“Nikole [Baringer] fired him without saying anything to the board,” Pilcher said. “Sometimes you just get a sense there’s something wrong.”
Baringer said that she discussed Zeigler’s termination with the former board chairman, who is no longer an active board member. She also contends that Zeigler’s termination followed infractions which had been documented in his file.
The issue that led to his termination dealt with him not following proper procedure with a dog that had been rescued from the dog pound.
Prior to December, Baringer was permitted to terminate employees without going through the board, she said. “It was in December that the board told me that all terminations must go through the board,” she said.
Baringer served as the agency’s CEO for eight years.
She also took exception to Pilcher’s earlier statements that the reason she and others would not be rehired dealt with “efficiency” and that the agency had “underlying personnel issues.”
“The board never sat down to talk with me about efficiency or underlying personnel issues,” she said. There’s no discipline in her file, and she received regular pay increases during her tenure, Baringer said.
Pilcher said the next order is to fill the chief executive officer position.
“Were going to have to put feelers out and maybe even advertise,” he said. “This is the person who ought to be heavily involved in fund raising and being a PR agent in the community.”
Meanwhile, a story in Thursday’s Vindicator about the Lariccias’ donation to the agency included a photograph of Dave Nelson, Mahoning County dog warden, holding a puppy. The female shepherd mix and her two sisters had been found under a porch on Halleck Street.
Nelson said a North Side man came into the pound Thursday after seeing the puppy’s photograph in the paper and adopted her.
“We have two left,” he said. That might not last long, though, as Nelson expected people who inquired about the dogs to visit the pound.