A report from Tom Cushing, Interim Executive Director
With with the City of Alameda by the City Council on Dec. 6, the last phase of our campaign to keep the Alameda Animal Shelter open has ended and the shelter is officially ours.
The animals are entrusted to our care at 12:01 a.m. January 1, 2012. I’ve never been a big fan of celebrating the passage of time, but this year we can all lift a glass of congratulations to ourselves at midnight New Year’s Eve for a highly successful endeavor on behalf of Alameda’s animals.
We are well into the work that needs to be done to assume responsibility for shelter operations. We are fortunate to be inheriting a well-run shelter, but we still have a lot of work to do before we take over the reins:
- Staffing: We are actively recruiting for five full-time and three part-time positions, including an Executive Director. Current staff members have been invited to apply for positions with FAAS and we have heard from a large number of highly qualified applicants. We plan to have critical care positions in place on January 1 and be fully staffed soon thereafter.
- Operating policies and systems: We are continuing work begun last summer to update and fully document operating policies for the facility. We began with the shelter’s policy guide and have sought further best practices from other well-run operations. We are striving toward a seamless transition and expect the FAAS operation to evolve over time from there. We are also developing financial and human resources capabilities to properly spend and account for our funds and guide FAAS employees.
- Relationships with vendors: Lots of supplies and services flow through the shelter. All our contracts for utilities, veterinary services, pet food and medications, cleaning supplies and more need to be transferred from the City of Alameda to FAAS. Some agreements need to be rewritten and purchase order relationships established.
- Relationship with the City: We’ll have two part-time Animal Control offers on-site who will continue to report to the Alameda Police Department. We are developing the necessary agreements and protocols to work effectively with them as separate but cooperating entities.
That’s a lot to be accomplished in the next few weeks, but we are confident that we will be up and running on New Year’s Day thanks to the hard work of our Board of Directors, our volunteers and the shelter’s current staff.
IRS makes giving to the shelter easier
If you’re past retirement age and thinking about making a year-end donation to help us run the shelter, here’s an idea: The Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 allows individuals age 70½ to make direct transfers from their IRAs to 501 (c)(3) charities like FAAS totaling up to $100,000 per year without having to count the funds as income for federal income purposes. Please consult your financial advisor or accountant for guidance about donating to FAAS in this manner.
A word to our volunteers
Our successful campaign to save the shelter and raise enough money to run it for the first full year would not have been possible without the many wonderful volunteers who gave generously of their time to make the dream a reality. We wish we could thank you each individually, but there are simply too many of you to list. Your thanks will come in the form of the happy faces of the animals who find their forever homes after being our guests at the shelter.
We will be sending out an announcement about volunteer opportunities at the shelter as soon as we have completed reviewing the procedures and the volunteer job descriptions. Stay tuned.
January 2: Mojito Monday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, at Angela’s Bistro & Bar, 2301 Central Ave. Celebrity bartender tips go to FAAS.