published Friday, March 14th, 2014

Second McKamey Animal Center leader resigns

McKamey Animal Center is located off Access Road in Hixson.
McKamey Animal Center is located off Access Road in Hixson.
Photo by Dan Henry.

The chairwoman of the McKamey Animal Center has resigned, the second person in five months to leave the center ostensibly as a result of problems dealing with Chattanooga city government.

Ann Ball resigned at Wednesday's board meeting after only four months in the leadership position, telling board members she was burned out.

"I'm frustrated about not being able to get the audit released and not being able to get the operating agreement moving," she said.

The relationship between McKamey and the city, which contracts with the center for $1.5 million a year to provide the city's animal control, has been rocky since last year.

After several board members resigned and one board member questioned Executive Director Karen Walsh's annual $10,000 bonus, Mayor Andy Berke's staff asked the city auditor in early October to audit McKamey.

In mid-October, Walsh announced she was resigning to take a job with PetSmart Charities.

McKamey is awaiting the results of the audit as well as an update to its 5-year-old operating agreement with the city. The City Council voted in December to renew the old contract through June.

The city hasn't been forthcoming with either document, Ball said.

City Attorney Wade Hinton said a draft of the operating agreement is complete and he is waiting for the administration to give him the green light to send it to McKamey. He said the city was originally waiting for McKamey to hire a new executive director and complete the audit.

"We're waiting for instructions from the city to move forward," he said.

Berke's spokeswoman, Lacie Stone, said the mayor plans to meet next week with McKamey's new executive director, Jamie McAloon Lampman.

City Auditor Stan Sewell said he has completed his audit and plans to go over his findings with Lampman and then the entire board.

He said the audit has taken longer than expected because he found issues with the board's governance that he had to investigate further.

At Wednesday's meeting, the board nominated Karla McKamey Valadez, one of the founders of McKamey, to lead the board in Ball's place.

Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at jlukachick@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6659.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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