COLUMBIA – The resignation of Patty Forister as executive director of the Central Missouri Humane Society was voluntary, a member of the shelter's board said.
Jim Loveless, vice president of the society's board, said Friday morning that Forister cited “personal and professional reasons” for leaving. He did not elaborate.
Loveless said Forister was not pressured by the board to resign. He characterized the resignation as an "amiable parting” between Forister and the society's board of directors.
The board has selected Alan Allert as its interim executive director while it searches for a permanent replacement. Allert will begin work Tuesday.
Loveless said he hopes a new director will provide “a new perspective, new ideas,” and will address what he said is the “basic shortcoming” of the society: it is too small for the number of animals under its care.
Allert worked in the department of veterinary biomedical sciences in MU's College of Veterinary Medicine. He has a bachelor’s degree and doctorate in veterinary medicine from Texas A&M University and an extensive background in veterinary care. Since 2005, he has worked as a private consultant to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“As we search for an executive director, we will of course identify candidates who share our primary concern and passion for the welfare of the thousands of unwanted animals that find their way to our door,” Maria Furey, president of the Humane Society's board of directors, said in prepared remarks.
Loveless said the shelter renovation and the relationship with Zootoo.com will continue. The shelter won a national competition sponsored by the Web site for assistance in a shelter makeover.
“I am pleased to provide interim leadership for CMHS as the board moves forward with the Zootoo shelter renovation project, strategic planning and other important initiatives,” Allert said in the news release received early Friday morning.
The society has been working to renovate its shelter and respond to budget difficulties.
In October, Second Ward City Councilman Jason Thornhill requested an evaluation of the society in response to concerns about management of the local shelter and its finances, though he acknowledged some of the concerns might be based in hearsay and rumors.
Later that month, the board considered changing its operating model to allow adoption of fewer animals. An assessment conducted by SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, said the society takes too many animals with too few resources.
In the release, Furey said the board is grateful to Forister for her management.
“Our aging facility and increasing unwanted pet population have presented many challenges, and she has always faced them head-on,” Furey said.