Archive for Monday, March 14, 2011

Midge Grinstead resigns after 14 years leading Lawrence Humane Society; Mike Wildgen named interim leader

March 14, 2011, 6:22 p.m. Updated March 14, 2011, 7:50 p.m.


Midge Grinstead has resigned as executive director of the Lawrence Humane Society, according to a statement from the society’s board of directors.

The board has appointed Mike Wildgen, former Lawrence city manager, as the society’s interim executive director.

He will work with animal welfare consultants to ensure the health and well-being of the pets in the shelter’s care during his interim leadership.

“We greatly appreciate Mike’s willingness to serve during this interim period,” said Megan Hiebert, president of the Lawrence Humane Society Board in the statement. “We thank Midge for her contributions to the Lawrence Humane Society and animal welfare over the past 14 years. We wish her well in her future pursuits.”

Reached on the phone Monday evening, Hiebert refused to comment beyond the statement, except to say that the board would seek to continue to build on Grinstead’s “positive effect on our community.”

She opted not to say whether Grinstead was asked to resign, whether any reasons were given by Grinstead or the board for her resignation, whether the board would seek to change any existing policies of the shelter or give any details about a timeline for finding a permanent replacement.

“All I’d like to say right now is that she has resigned and we continue to give updates as we go,” Hiebert said.

The board placed Grinstead on administrative leave for 28 days in the fall for unspecified personnel reasons. She returned in November. And in February, the shelter announced it would pay $10,000 in back pay to workers who did not receive compensation for their overtime.

Wildgen said he wouldn’t focus on the reasons behind Grinstead’s departure.

“That’s not something that concerns me at this point,” he said. “It’s going forward.”

He compared the situation to similar interim roles he had taken in the past, including a job as interim city administrator in Eudora and a stint as interim director of the Watkins Community Museum of History.

Wildgen said he had not met with the entire board yet, and agreed to take on the job after being approached by the board’s attorney and Hiebert.

“It’s a high-profile public service that they provide,” Wildgen said. “We want to make sure that continues.”

He said he would make sure that the budget was attended to, that services kept going and that the search for a permanent and professional director proceeded as smoothly as possible.

“My job is to eliminate my job,” Wildgen said.

He said he and the board had not yet agreed upon a salary.

Messages for Grinstead were not returned Monday evening.


Bassetlover 7 years, 2 months ago

Huge loss for this community. Huge!! Mike Wildgen will be an awesome interim. God bless you, Midge!

fordssuxsass 7 years, 2 months ago

Midge was an awsome and the right person for the job. The humane society is going down hill fast! she should have her job and people need to apologize to her in front of the board memebers and staff

devobrun 7 years, 2 months ago

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wmathews 7 years, 2 months ago

Thanks for the catch. I changed the story.

Paula Kissinger 7 years, 2 months ago

"Mike Wildgen will be an awesome interim."

WHAT ? Wrong ! He "resigned under pressure in 2006". If he couldn't stand up for himself against city hall there is no way he is going to be able to stand up for those that cannot speak.

This is a huge loss for the animals and those of us that advocate for them. To build and operate such a great shelter in a community of leaders who are more interested in appearances than the real issues is her legacy and she should be commended for that. She is not replaceable but someone will eventually assume her position. I hope they are deserving of it and that Midge will find comfort in knowing that those of us who have our hearts in the right place will always speak well of her and admire her for all she has done.

ResQd 7 years, 2 months ago

I don't know what's happened up there, and we probably will never know the entire story. However, the work that she has done for the animals under her directorship, cannot be measured. She's done an outstanding job over the years. I just hope the new leadership can fill her boots, um, shoes!

lmb 7 years, 2 months ago

As if we needed more reasons not to listen to you.

Executive Directors work FOR the Board of Directors. The ED has absolutely no say in who sits on the board, just as you have no say in who your BOSS is (other than choosing to find another job entirely).

oliveoyl 7 years, 2 months ago

It depends on what kind of Board it is. Is it a governing Board or a volunteer/advisory Board? There is a difference. I assume with the recent past history with LHS, it is a governing Board. Governing Boards have a lot power...volunteer/advisory Boards are more limited.

Boards can help an agency flourish or be a detrement. A bad Board can do a lot of harm just as much as a great Board can better an agency.

I'm in no way saying that LHS has a bad board. Just wanted to point out that not all Boards have the power to fire an ED.

George_Braziller 7 years, 2 months ago

501(c)3 not-for-profit organizations are required to have a governing board (almost always volunteers) and are responsible for setting policies, fundraising (even though most refuse to do that part), and ensuring the financial success of the organization. Their one and only employee is the Executive Director who is responsible for implementing the policies of the Board.

What most governing board volunteers don't realize is that they are each personally financially liable for the loss of the organization if it goes under. That's what a D&O insurance policy is for.

Advisory boards are usually focused on a particular aspect of the organization but don't have voting power. They just "advise" the governing board.

oliveoyl 7 years, 2 months ago

Yes, this is correct. Better said. Thanks! I didn't know if the local LHS Board was an Advisory Board who answered to a bigger "Humane Society of Kansas" Board of Directors. I don't even know if there is such a Board of Directors for the Humane Society, which is why I asked but didn't do a good job. haha. I know the non-profit I used to work for had a state run Board of Directors that our community Board "answers" to.

irvan moore 7 years, 2 months ago

wow, talk about a jack of all trades, Wildgen was interim director for museum, now for shelter.

mrbig 7 years, 2 months ago

Best wishes to you Midge! You have done great things for LHS.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 2 months ago

wow, going from a director who is one of the people I respect most in Lawrence to a director who is someone I respect least in Lawrence.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 2 months ago

Wow...quite a compliment for Mr. Wilgen.

ivalueamerica 7 years, 2 months ago

It would make sense that you are drawn to and idolize people who have been forced from office for unprofessional behavior.

jhawkinsf 7 years, 2 months ago

I hope all people who are reading this consider the shelter next time they get a pet.

mr_right_wing 7 years, 2 months ago

I worked on and off with Midge over the years. I'm not saying anything 'bad' about her; this is just an observation I made. Her #1 priority was the animals, close behind was volunteers (#2); employees were much futher down on that 8 or 9. In a 'perfect world' those priorities might be better balanced, but that's not where we live. My first choice might not to be to work for her, but I always enjoyed working with her. She deffinately didn't just 'slide by' for the past 14 years!!

irvan moore 7 years, 2 months ago

we get our dogs at the shelter, great dog every time.

Jim Phillips 7 years, 2 months ago

That is a very poweful statement ---------- concerning puppy mills! It also shows you know virtually nothing about the Lawrence Humane Society, thus making your statement about LHS rather stupid.

Sharon Aikins 7 years, 2 months ago

Just guessing that the LHS has saved more than half a dozen. Hoping you also spayed and neutered those half dozen so they didn't produce more unwanted pets. You ever think that a lot of the problem might be irreponsible owners who produce all these puppies? You know, part of the problem too is owners who neglect or abuse their animals to the point the animal cannot be saved.

institches 7 years, 2 months ago

this is a no kill shelter... educate yourself before posting...

Amy Heeter 7 years, 2 months ago

The board wants a kill shelter and I guess they are getting what they want. Sad day for the animals in Lawrence Kansas. I hope the complaining lazy employees feel really good about the animals that will now die as a result of their selfishness. This is the night the lights went out in Lawrence and the board in this town has blood stains on their hands.

Gary Anderson 7 years, 2 months ago

It's selfish wanting to get paid for the hours you worked? Really? How many hours are you forced to work off the clock every day, instead of being home with your children?

Amy Heeter 7 years, 2 months ago

We already discussed this when midge was on leave. Looks like you have to have things repeated often, which could be why pay was docked.

Gary Anderson 7 years, 2 months ago

SORRY...I have never posted about this topic...AND I don't work at the shelter...but I believe workers should get paid for ALL the hours they work...period. If they are bad employees, then fire them...but you have to pay them.

somedude20 7 years, 2 months ago

My experience has been (22 years in the work force) that if you have a job, any job, you always have to surrender time without compensation. Be it a few minutes a day or an hour or two a week. Way it goes

redbravo 7 years, 2 months ago

Somehow I don't think $10,000 in backpay for overtime accounts for giving up just a few minutes or a few hours per week. Bottom line is that people have to be compensated for the hours they actually work. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it's the law.

Also, based on the organization's own investigation, they found other workers who were owed money that weren't covered under the federal investigation. Obviously something was wrong with how they were being compensated.

I don't see how one person leaving will have any affect on the well being of the animals. If anything, paying the staff what they've earned will have a positive impact for the animals since it will boost staff morale and attract better quality staff.

This is not a loss for the animals, but a win for workers. I feel bad for the executive director. It sounds like she is well liked by the community, but this is what happens when things go wrong in an organization...the person in charge has to be held accountable.

Beth Meyers 7 years, 2 months ago

I worked for the state when they didn't pay overtime. Instead, we got 'comp time', time we could take off during paid hours in lieu of overtime. It sucked to not get overtime, but I could take off and still get paid. That's a better solution when funds are tight. I don't know if the state still does this or not, but they did for the years I worked for them.

musicheals 7 years, 2 months ago

Did you just quote Reba McIntyre? Awesome.

hobmo 7 years, 2 months ago

I guess I am confused by this post. Why does everyone think that since Midge is leaving that all the animals will die? Lawrence is full of plenty of people who care and love the animals. I have helped with LHS events for several years now. Even though Midge was the director of LHS, she is not and was not LHS. It takes a village to have an organization work effectively. The board, employees and volunteers are very dedicated to the well being of the animals and for the sustainability of the shelter. LHS will survive and I believe Lawrence will find that its not one person who makes LHS what it is today but rather everyone working together with one goal in mind that makes it work more effectively. As a volunteer working with LHS in the past, I personally feel that Midge has held the agency back in some ways and she was not always the easiest person to work with. Just as Boys and Girls Club will survive without Janet Bremby, LHS will survive without Midge. Ok, I gotta go snuggle with my dogs. Here's to the animals of Lawrence.

disgustedagain 7 years, 2 months ago

wow is this true?? I mean strictly speaking it was never completely NOT a kill shelter, but I was wondering if they were pushing for expansion and wanting to have fewer animals to make ends meet. if you are right, it's really sad. i can't say i've been very impressed by the employees i've come across at the shelter (some exceptions of course). i'm sure it's a hard job and pays poorly, but this whole lack of information is really putting me off. wayside waifs or other shelters also need my money.

Kicker14 7 years, 2 months ago

The Lawrence Humane Society has always been a kill shelter. Again, proving that artichokeheart doesn't do his/her research.

BobaFett 7 years, 2 months ago

Have you seen the actual kill records there? I don't believe so. Let me know when you have and we can compare notes.

blindrabbit 7 years, 2 months ago

This sets up Wildgen for his next Interim directorship; managing sewage distribution throughout the city.

deec 7 years, 2 months ago

I know about 10,000 reasons why the employees are not the ones at fault here.

Kontum1972 7 years, 2 months ago

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IBike100 7 years, 2 months ago

Midge is an incredible human being who has given her heart and soul to the unwanted and abused animals in our community. I wish her the very best in her retirement I highly respect Mike Wildgen, who is also a very good person and a caring individual. I think the shelter will be left in good hands to carry on the good work which was started there.

naturalist 7 years, 2 months ago

wow major mistake to let the best person we have ever had for our shelter go due to devoted people working overtime. midge you are wonderful. all the best to You.

deec 7 years, 2 months ago

"Devoted people working overtime" are required by the federal government to be paid for all the hours they work.

KelliChurch 7 years, 2 months ago

btw shouldnt DEVOTED people do their jobs? I witnessed the accusers NOT doing the job the way they were suppose to be doing it.

Gary Anderson 7 years, 2 months ago

The "accusers" were vindicated. They are getting their due wages. Unless you are a recent former don't know how they were trained or what their job duties are.

KelliChurch 7 years, 2 months ago

The board got their wish and now the best thing at the shelter is gone. They will make the shelter a death camp. That is what they want. They put down over 100 cats in November but never told the public that. Then Megan sat at the shelter babysitting Midge and had her hands tied. The so called employees that accused Midge cant even do their job. I witnessed them not doing things they were suppose to be doing. But hey the board was out to get Midge and now they won. Now its a sad day for the unwanted animals. The place that was to be their 2nd chance will now be their death sentence. I hope the board is proud of themselves. I also hope the board looks at the animals that are sentenced to death and are haunted by their actions every day and night. I will no longer donate to the shelter. The board has not had the animals best interests in hand. They overspent while Midge was on her leave but they wont tell anyone that. Im not only ashamed of the board members but Im ashamed of myself for not doing more to keep Midge there. She made it what it is today and now there wont be a tomorrow for the animals. So pat yourselves on the back you so called board members. By the way, way to change the by laws for the board. Now those that wanted the power will have it because they will be able to stay in office longer. Oh yeah they didnt tell the public that. They changed the terms and made them longer. Funny since those few that were after Midge are coming up for re-election first. Im sure telling people your on the board of directors will make you go far in life. But you will have to live everyday with what you have done and those that did nothing will have to live with that as well. They should change the name from a shelter to the death camp. That is what it will be now. I wonder how many of the negative comments are from those that have accused Midge. Why hide behind made up ID's? use your real name and let people see who you are. I will always stand behind Midge, the work she did at the shelter was amazing. And now all that is gone, sad day for the animals.

guess_again 7 years, 2 months ago

"They will make the shelter a death camp. That is what they want."

This is an idiotic statement.

Sara Garlick 7 years, 2 months ago

Are they seriously going to make LHS a kill shelter? I know if the animal is injured too badly, or way too agressive for humans. But putting an animal down because it is unloved and not adopted is WRONG!

BrianR 7 years, 2 months ago

The LHS has never claimed to be no-kill, they just say they won't kill for space but a dog can end up going out the back door for a wide variety of reasons. The staff at LHS does an outstanding job and I have no reason to believe that won't continue.

BrianR 7 years, 2 months ago

I did ask people on the inside, that is exactly where I got that information. I've also spent a lot of time at the shelter, been through every inch of it, though I certainly wouldn't consider myself an insider.

There enough no-kill models out in the world that it can happen here, they just have to want it. Unfortunately, people fear change. The LHS are good at what they do but I'm not suggesting that they couldn't do things differently.

pinecreek 7 years, 2 months ago

So which person on the Board will end up assuming the ED role long term? What is the latest in 'palace intrigue'?

CreatureComforts 7 years, 2 months ago

I must say, I am always impressed with LJ World comment section. It's really neat to see that this city has so many people that know everything about absolutely everything. Many can even see the's fantastic. With so many amazingly smart people in this town, I am shocked the city isn't the capital of the world.

Kicker14 7 years, 2 months ago

I totally agree with you, CreatureComforts! Quite an accurate observation. Took the words right out of my mouth.

Kim Murphree 7 years, 2 months ago

You will see a former staff member elevated to Director--and they will euthanize to save money--that's one of the main points for the "new" direction of the shelter. What a shame. Midge, you took great care to make sure we had a shelter that was the best it could be--you did so much with so little, and were an amazing advocate for the animals. I am sorry we didn't stand up for you and save your directorship---I hope that after the tears, you take that LONG earned vacation---then look back and be proud of all you have done--it was a GREAT work, and many of us appreciate you and will always appreciate you.

Kicker14 7 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, well, when you break the law, even if you had an entire city of people standing up for you isn't going to save your rear end. Just because you have some "blind" fans, that doesn't make you an exception to the law. Justice has finally been served.

Kim Murphree 7 years, 2 months ago

Yeah Kicker..let's be real specific about the "law that was broken," shall we? We know there was an agenda and that these "violations" were discovered as part of a move to get rid of MIdge...they were looking for something....and found the mistake...but not criminal..the Feds didn't file criminal charges against Midge....they found a mistake.. and guess what??? that mistake wasn't on the shoulders of Midge alone....the Board should resign... anyone who did accounting should resign...if MIdge has to go.

RANGERTWO 7 years, 2 months ago

God Bless you Midge, my friend! Being Santa Paws for you always made my Christmas season better. I hope all in the future is grand for you and hubby. I will miss you and your smiles and love everyday!

guess_again 7 years, 2 months ago

Unfortunately, even fourteen-year directors must follow federal and state wage laws.

All the people who now want to slime the board of directors are just going to make it more likely that well qualified people in the community do not step up to serve on, or write checks to, this organization.

Those arguing that board members wants to intentionally kill animals, and want to inject the "kill shelter" argument are way off the mark and disingenuous.

Good intentions and warm hugs is not enough when running an organization with employees and a payroll. You must obey the law, and you are responsible to your board.

Kicker14 7 years, 2 months ago

NEWSFLASH!!! This is not the apocalypse, the world is not going to stop turning, the sun will rise tomorrow people. So you can go back to your normal daily routines of life. That is, if you have one, but that might be debatable considering how much time certain people spend posting on here.

RANGERTWO 7 years, 2 months ago

Just grow up!!!!!You most likely were someone who got on the bad side of issues with her. Yeah for you!!! You got what you wanted to begin with. She will come out far ahead of all this all on her own without either for or against her people out there. If the folks in power in this city worked as hard as she did to make a difference there wouldnt be all the problems they have now!

Kicker14 7 years, 2 months ago

LOL, think what you will. Whatever gets you through your day.

Amy Heeter 7 years, 2 months ago

It isn't the Sun we are worried about it is the animals.

Kicker14 7 years, 2 months ago

It's metaphoric, silly, lol. Not literal. Knock knock, planet Earth calling! The animals will be fine with continued support.

sweetiepie 7 years, 2 months ago

I also thought one of the big selling points of the Lawrence Humane Society was that the shelter was a "no-kill" facility. Why did so many of us think that?

Amy Heeter 7 years, 2 months ago

The shelter was never no kill it is low kill.

Kicker14 7 years, 2 months ago

The Board of Directors, just like anyone else who works at any shelter, has a very difficult job too. I think they have done the best they can, and I thank them for all the time they've been putting into trying to make the shelter a better place for the animals and staff alike. They don't get paid for being on the board, and the work they do is worth something. They are doing the right thing.

RANGERTWO 7 years, 2 months ago

I have worked for many different boards and this one has 15 people on it. 8 to 10 is plenty to get the work done and lessens chances for to many personnel agendas. List all the boards you know of around that have that many on it and get all there issues done without constant tableing the issues. I think all boards are biased to there individual wants, but 14 years with so many of them over her tells you she did a fantastic job. I had the same problem for 12 years myself at one time and balancing that and getting my work done and still alienating myself everyday, I was the best they ever had there and it showed then, but not now. Learning to do all is the trick when all the all are wanting it there way.

Kicker14 7 years, 2 months ago

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Kicker14 7 years, 2 months ago

I don't know why so many people think the Lawrence Humane Society was ever a "no kill" shelter. In all the years of its existence, it has never been a "no kill" shelter.

ResQd 7 years, 2 months ago

I, personally, thought it was a no-kill shelter, with the exception of animals that were aggressive and/or injured to a point of no return. Several years back when visiting the shelter, I was told by a staff member it was a no-kill shelter. Can you please fill us in on what circumstances cause them to euthanize these animals; I may have to stop my contributions.

Kicker14 7 years, 2 months ago

And thank you for the contributions you have made, on behalf of the animals.

mom_of_three 7 years, 2 months ago

I would still consider it a no kill shelter because they dont normally kill animals, only for aggression and illness and in extreme circumstances.

Kicker14 7 years, 2 months ago

Well, it's mostly because of aggression or serious injury/illness, and not too terribly often because of space, but it would be a lie to say that the shelter has "never" euthanized for space, although they work hard to not have to do that. But sometimes the shelter gets far too many animals in at one time and there is just nowhere to put them all. I will say though, in those cases, everything is done to prevent euthanizing for space, such as calling rescues, other shelters, the state, and foster homes. But even that's not enough sometimes. Please don't stop your contributions though, because the more contributions of any kind, the more it helps the shelter improve on these things.

ResQd 7 years, 2 months ago

Thank you for explaining this. If you've ever been to the Topeka Humane Society, you will understand what I am talking about. The fact that the Lawrence Humane Society makes every effort to not-euthanize, makes me feel so much better.

Kicker14 7 years, 2 months ago

Euthanasia in general is just a fact of shelter life, unfortunately. But the more help from supporters/contributors, the better things are for the animals. Please, through all of the drama, I urge everyone to not forget that the animals are the number one priority. Don't let ill feelings towards humans stop or prevent you from helping the animals if you are a true animal lover. Every furry life that makes it through their ordeal and comes out the other end being adopted into a safe, loving home because of your contributions thanks you!

Kicker14 7 years, 2 months ago

The past can not be changed, but the future can. We can all argue about the decisions made from all directions day in and day out, but ultimately that doesn't really get anyone anywhere. The only thing that we all can really do now is to just move forward and keep the animals in focus as the main priority. Arguing to prove points is not going to change what's done.

Kicker14 7 years, 2 months ago

Hugs for everyone, this is a very stressful topic.

Melinda Black 7 years, 2 months ago

It saddens me to see the Lawrence Humane Shelter in the news yet again. As a longtime donor, I believed that my dollars were going to support a good program. Of late, I'm starting to question the motives of the board members in charge of those dollars.

I've heard too many stories about certain board members orchestrating Midge's departure with the hopes of filling her job. I suggest the board address these rumors. I will not financially enable an organization that allows a board member to personally enriching themselves at the expense of the animals.There are other shelters with less drama that also need funding.

pinecreek 7 years, 2 months ago

Mike Wildgen, if you're watching these threads, I'd suggest that you have a critical conversation with the Board. This writer's approach is not an isolated one--either the Board steps up and acts like a leadership group or they let others determine the direction and content of the Shelter's reputation and the community's impression of its leadership. Either way, you've been in the public arena many times before, you know how this game is played. They appear to need some guidance in that department, please help them to help themselves.

chimein27 7 years, 2 months ago

I agree, it's time to set the record straight.

KelliChurch 7 years, 2 months ago

If I was Mike I would keep one eye on my back. They are quick with sticking that knife in when things dont go their way.

disgustedagain 7 years, 2 months ago

I agree. I've been contributing over the years as well. Since this whole incident I am considering moving my money to Operation Wildlife or Wayside Waifs or others who also need money. I really resent the fact that no info has been given out all along. This Board may have been doing everything correctly, but who can know since very little info has been released to the public. Hiding behind confidentiality doesn't cut it for me. Information should be released on who made what decisions in the past 6 months. Why are the minutes of the Board meeting not posted online for members? Why do we get such carefully non-informative press releases 24 hours before the LJW publishes an article? I really dislike the way the Board has been operating and until this style of operation changes, I will have to consider donating to other well-deserving shelters who do a better job of communication and more willing to be publically accountable for their actions.

pinecreek 7 years, 2 months ago

The Humane Society (or any non-profit, for that matter) wants donors regardless of leadership considerations. Many of them would be thrilled that citizens are that interested in the organization.

Donors, on the other hand, want to be sure that the organization that they donate to is fair (internally and externally) and transparent in its communications and relations to the community. I have personally reached out to members of this Board when this saga first began. I'm underwhelmed by the response and attitude that I've received. I reiterate my earlier point and plea to Mike Wildgen--please help this Board to understand how to navigate the tricky waters of public relations and transparency--they're foundering at the current time.

Pacer12 7 years, 2 months ago

"That is, if you have one, but that might be debatable considering how much time certain people spend posting on here."

Kicker14, you're pretty quick to start pointing fingers after making numerous posts so it looks like you're the one with no life. Just saying.

And regardless of the accusations against Midge, she was a great director and did great things for the shelter. Can't we just focus on that instead of pointing out how bad of a director she supposedly was or how awful the incoming director might be?

Ambition_rules 7 years, 2 months ago

Sometimes I wish the LJW made you use your real name. Although Kicker14 insinuates that she is an employee, I'd bet the house that she is a board member. Employees of the shelter are usually hard at work cleaning kennels at this time of the morning....Some of the board members, meanwhile, are unemployed. Hmmmmm.

Amy Heeter 7 years, 2 months ago

I don't know about that but I do know there are plenty of shelter employees spend a lot of time with a finger in their bum. I am concerned though about the fact that a large item was donated to be raffled and that has not happened. While I cannot substantiate the rumor that a board member allocated the item for personal use I have to wonder if the rumor is true. The accusations on this forum that I am dome midge worshiper that won't listen to reason is ridiculous. While I do in fact hold midge on high esteem it will always be the animals that is my top priority. As for pay I happen to know that midge did not calculate timesheets. Any errors in that arena ultimately on the shoulders of the board who are responsible for the shelter budget.

brujablanco 7 years, 2 months ago

So, that means you work there or are at the shelter round the clock to see all that happens?

Once again, you are mistaken about the responsibility of the director when it comes to a personnel matter(payroll). There are laws that must be followed and no matter who calculated the timesheets, Midge was responsible.

As for the "large item" that has not been raffled - would this be the item?

Midge Offered Proposal by Shelter Board BTW that's another inspirational story about Midge. I was in her office after a silent auction. Her office was filled with leftovers that didn't sell. We were talking about ways to make dollars for the shelter. I remembered going to the drug store as a kid to buy grab bags. They would put like $25.00(retail) worth of goods in a bag and sell them for $10 just to clear out old stock. We liked the surprise element of it all. {Then I said "hey you want to raffle off my piano?" Midge was like "Yes!" In talking we figured she could sell tickets for $20-$25 and make a killing.}

svenway_park 7 years, 2 months ago

"...Any errors in that arena ultimately on the shoulders of the board"

Pure horse manure.

What they need is a good Enforcer. I know a person who once left her animal for months of free care at the shelter. How about that large item?

lua423 7 years, 2 months ago

I used to volunteer at the Humane Society, but I found the employee's rude and unhelpful. Maybe this is the change that was needed.

frankieandlola 7 years, 2 months ago

The term no kill shleter is a feel-good term. It conjures up warm fuzzies in the community but it doesn't decrease numbers of euthanasia, it just means the next shelter down the road has to perform more. No kill shelters are generally looked down upon in the humane society community because they house the animals for long periods of time and pass on their overflow to other shelters. There is no doubt that LHS and it's people past and present, including Midge, care deeply about the animals of this community. They need our support regardless of their label or kill status. Most of the general public is uneducated about the true differences between no-kill shelters and those that euthanize. Understandble because most of them haven't worked at either one. I don't profess to be a fan of Peta, but their website sums it up nicely:

dogsandcats 7 years, 2 months ago

Ding dong the witch is... gone! She may have done a lot for the animals but she needs some pointers on interpersonal communication with humans.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 7 years, 2 months ago

I wonder if Wildgen will be armed? Thank you, Lynn

igby 7 years, 2 months ago

It's time the city leaders insulate themselves with a change in management. Many years ago, there was a mistake that was made and coruption grew into a black market for animal food that was not going to the shelter. Managment was at blame and under managements watch this black market grew and food was going out in large loads at the hand of one of the employees to this black market. After 12 or more years of this hole in food inventories, a complaint arose and the black market got cut off. These people were bad and are in jail now. The wrong will never be right. The only hope is to change management and the city can move on . There is doubt that few people ever new about this and the management is at fought. The employee is long gone. Terrible and sad.

Acey 7 years, 2 months ago

When we rolled into Lawrence in the '70's, we found a cat at the motel we were in temporarily. So we looked in the phone book, called the Lawrence Humane Society, and found a place for that cat, met the shelter's Helen Melton, who had lived IN the Ise Animals Shelter with her husband and their poodles (sometimes with pink or blue-dyed fur!). she told us we ought to attend the meetings. And so began a long relationship with this organization. We both served terms on the Board. We both served terms as president. Did you all know that EVERY MANAGER over the years except the one before Midge was terminated by the board? Some couldn't cut it. Some had "issues." Some just needed to do something else. That job can be SOUL-DESTROYING! So many challenges. So few solutions. Many in our community feel terribly distressed about the numbers of homeless pets——more than shelter clients and area residents have room to keep. We have so many good, energetic, loyal animals and many animal lovers. Yet there are so many more sad endings than happy ones. As it has always been, so it will always be. Not just in Lawrence, but pretty much everywhere. ••••••• There just aren't—and never will be—enough homes for them all! •••••••• I was on the committee that hired Midge. She left a job in retail and "learned her way" to the top, statewide. She "lasted" longer than any manager before her. I have found her to be a smart, kind, and energetic advocate for animals. I don't know a thing about what happened towards the end. Can't we agree that that we all WILL NOT be able to agree on all aspects of this issue? Can we please agree at least to lend our support, loyalty, and effort for this essential organization as the Lawrence Humane Society / Charles Ise Memorial Animal Shelter finds the way forward? Thank you, Midge, for your long service. We wish you all the best. Desmond and Dewey became our pets because you saved them for ten months! Basil became our pet because your staff kept him and the others safe and well until we came along and found him.

BobaFett 7 years, 2 months ago

There is a lot of information in regards to this matter that is not yet known to the public. I can tell you right now that this will be public knowledge very soon via pictures, videos, and documents. I think everyone should hold their final judgments until all of this information is released.

Amy Heeter 7 years, 2 months ago

What would ne the point in that except to harass another. Midge was o leave, returned then resigned. Certain employees double dipped by receiving both comp time and pay. There is no crime here. If there were other action would have already taken place. Do tell though; are those sour grapes bitter?

BobaFett 7 years, 2 months ago

I never once mentioned anything negative in regards to Midge. The overall result of information being available to the public is for the public to make an informed opinion. It is obvious that everyone here is invested in some way to this situation and the more information available would only seem to help verify the stance that any one person is taking. The people that tend to be scared of information are the people that do not want that information to be made public.

Amy Heeter 7 years, 2 months ago

The only dog I have in this fight is the best interest of the shelter animals. I know midge cares about the animals. I have also seen employees yell at and jerk animals. I have seen the kennels in deplorable conditions while employees lingered out back smoking. I don't deny I am fond of midge but I can say that about a few shelter staff as well. I also like mike w but from the posts here I suppose that too is unpopular. Regardless the animals should be top priority here and as much as dome might dislike me saying so there ate a few employees that need to be sent packing.

Amy Heeter 7 years, 2 months ago

How can midge be in two, five it ten places st one time. I reported every instance I saw anything that didn't air right with me. I think that the employees who were confronted could be the most vocal against midge. I know for sure one was fired when jenene was stll there. I have had disagreements with midge but we always found a middle ground that worked for us. Diplomacy goes a long way.

Steve Jacob 7 years, 2 months ago

This is coming from a non-animal fan. Why not kill shelter animals after a some set amount of time? By not killing anything, you will spend more money and end up not giving enough care for animals that have more potential to find a home. If you have less money and higher cost, something has to give or you end up closing down, and then much more animals will be in harms way.

animalsfirst 7 years, 2 months ago

Employees are allowed to have breaks. And most employees do not leave the shelter for lunch. If you think the job is so easy why don't you volunteer for a day and see what it is really like. Do you know how many staff members argued with Midge over the euth list and how many times staff members either adopted or fostered animals to keep them from being euthanized. How many animals did Midge ever foster?

Melinda Black 7 years, 2 months ago

Does anyone know which member of the board was appointed by the City of Lawrence?

PeoplePetsnRespect 7 years, 2 months ago

As someone mentioned, there is alot more to this story regarding the pay issue. DOL fined based on a little known rule about how many hours a person can work and be considered "salary". Anyone know that exact number? If you are like most of us, you won't know it. I would venture that the board didn't even know that hours rule. So some people who were thought to be salary should have been paid hourly and overtime. That is what the fine was about. AFTER DOL had audited, made their ruling, a BOARD MEMBER takes it upon herself to further audit and comes up with "fines" that are owed that the DOL didn't even assign. Amazing how some of these board members are such experts in so many areas. The telling answer is WHY a board member would follow up a DOL audit with information that makes the shelter look worse than it is? A little known fact is that Midge tried to work with several employees that needed time off (one had cancer) and she gave them time off but the board ( and a few employees who had nothing better to do) stirred that up to be something illegal. Why would they do that when her intention was good? Another little known fact is that Midge's husband who used to work there was one of those people who should have been compensated more. He turned down the extra compensation.

If anyone has seen Midge's office, seen the car they drive or knew their lifestyle, this is a woman who DEDICATED her life to animal welfare. She was not in it for the money and she certainly wasn't out to cheat anyone. Matter of fact (check it) she had nothing to do with the pay or accounting procedures. That fell to someone else but I'm sure they said it happened "under her watch "which is just another line that is used when someone is targeted.

I am very disappointed by all that has gone on with this board , their poor judgment in handling concerns within the shelter and their overall lack of support to what is important - animal care. The focus of a shelter should be on the animals- not petty jealousies and politics. My support will follow Midge because I believe in her philosophy, her character and what she is willing to devote to this cause. I can't support the poor structure and lack of leadership of the board like this one. I am hoping Midge is given financial backing to start her own animal rescue group. Then she can put her energy back into what's important and the current board can run the shelter into the ground and only have themselves to blame. At least there would be another place for the animals to go that wasn't a roller coaster of politics. So sad. Midge doesn't read these posts but if someone talks to her - let her know I admire her and wish her well.

Beth Meyers 7 years, 2 months ago

I agree with you totally, read my comment, and I am NOT anonymous, so you can contact me if you want to talk further. I'm on FB, but not under my own picture.

Ambition_rules 7 years, 2 months ago

Here's the confusing thing to me: Why would a couple apparent employees be on here trying to convince LJW readers that their ex-boss was evil....She's gone...Yet here they are, grinding. It doesn't take a psychoanalyst to decipher that may be the few people who posted earlier about this situation being more than some rule violation or bookkeeping error and actually about a vendetta held by a few employees and possibly a few board members, might be right on.
Hey, do what you like, but I think you're hurting your cause, which has already been completed...or has it?

elliotts 7 years, 2 months ago


Midge did a very, very good job.

Deb Duncan

vhawk 7 years, 2 months ago

This is a great loss for the community, I want to thank Midge for giving all she had to the shelter. Midge, I wish you only the very best because that is what you deserve.

Scott Morgan 7 years, 2 months ago

Before we get too teary eyed, what was her severance package?

BigPrune 7 years, 2 months ago

Now they need to retire Corliss and bring back Wildgen.

Amy Heeter 7 years, 2 months ago

There is the point. People complained about mike w and now want him back. This community is so petty. Don't it always seem to go that you don'y know what you hot till It's gone. Wake up Lawrence and get off the Lynch mob mentality.

Amy Heeter 7 years, 2 months ago

Yes I think expansion is on the table because in,addition to local cast aways it is not uncommon got the state to bring in additional animals. Remember katrina brought more than a few animals to Lawrence. The need is there.

brujablanco 7 years, 2 months ago

Christianity a strong theme during Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback's inauguration tanaumaga says: "seperation(sic) of church and state....YEE-HAW!!!"

January 11, 2011 at 9:18 p.m. ( permalink | suggest removal )

Spelling is oh so telling............. :-)

pace 7 years, 2 months ago

It might be a good idea to recycle some of the staff. Once one sours on a job, a breath of fresh attitude can do wonders for a place. Clear out the bitter and sour.

IndusRiver 7 years, 2 months ago

Well, I hate to see her go, but it did seem like the all-about-politics board over there felt like maybe a third-rate shelter would save them money, which, of course, always seems to end up in the graft pile. It's a shame for this town to not get it together any better than this.

BobaFett 7 years, 2 months ago

Has anyone heard any news on what if any role Hills Science Diet played in this removal?

IndusRiver 7 years, 2 months ago

When we were self-employed we worked when the customer called, and I remember many nights driving home at midnight, including holiday eves. So for folks who want to be home with their families - hey, nothin' wrong with that - but work is work.

There's no clock, but the benefits and the rewards are just stupendous by comparison.

I am curious about one thing. Does the housework get done if there's no overtime pay? The family car get washed? No overtime pay? Yard get mowed? No overtime pay?

pace 7 years, 2 months ago

Because you don't want to do house work or mow the law we should do away with labor rights? I mow my lawn, had a business, took the profits. Paid my employees for the work they did and didn't try to cheat them on their time because I didn't like mowing my own lawn. Most of them mow their lawn and most of them clean their own home. I personally have saved hundreds of man hours by not cleaning, never iron. That is my choice, cheating an employee shouldn't be a matter of choice.

Beth Meyers 7 years, 2 months ago

Midge started many programs and was an excellent outreach coordinator and animal advocate, neither of which I can see Mike Wildgen doing. If anything, he will advocate for the board. He is a manager, but he is not an innovator, nor is he a passionate advocate, and I don't think advancing the HUMANE part of the shelter's objective (if, besides euthanasia, that is still an objective) will be first on his agenda. I will not donate to the shelter, nor encourage others to do so until: •They strive to become a no-kill shelter • They do not euthanize for space, but work with other no-kill shelters to find more foster homes. • A program for older animals, those older than 10 years, is in place, whether permanent foster homes or adoption training. A cat I knew there was euthanized because he had arthritis and nipped at a worker who touched him in a sore spot. Even though I had told workers the cat had sensitive areas and what they were, nothing was done. • They partner with other animal rescue organizations so that even the 'unadoptable' can find good living situations at sanctuaries or other rescue organizations. An EXCELLENT model for this type of shelter is Stray Rescue in St. Louis, founded by Randy Grimm. Midge strove for those goals, but more than one board member believes the shelter actually SHOULD euthanize more animals. From now on, please tell people to consider taking pets to other shelters more in line with what we wanted ours to be. I withdraw all support until actual change is documentable. Mike Wildgen is a nice guy, but a true animal advocate he is not. For him, this job and the interim museum job are probably much the same. So much the pity! Maybe we should try to get another shelter to come here, like an ASPCA? I will copy this comment and email or post it on every site I can get to. If we don't act for the animals, who will?

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