The Baldwin Park “Shelter’ is going through a much needed renovation. The crumbling Building One is finally almost finished and should be reopened imminently. Once that happens, the slow moving construction company will demolish and rebuild the outdated Building Two at the same snail’s pace. Given Baldwin Park’s previous experience with Los Angeles County approved contractors we can only imagine the overbilling and kickbacks that county taxpayers are being ripped off for in connection with this much needed construction project.
One thing which unfortunately is not being reconstructed is employee and volunteer trust in the “Shelter” management. Employees are so tired of Sheri “Goldilocks” Koenig’s incompetent and disrespectful management style that they have been staging a sick out, leaving Baldwin Park severely understaffed. This week sixteen employees, over one third of the facility’s workforce, are on “modified duty’ – meaning that they cannot be required to perform the work they have been hired to do. This has forced the shelter to pay time and a half, and sometimes double time for other employees to work overtime – eating the shelter’s already razor-thin budget. Koenig has tried to press volunteers into taking up some of the slack – but because of both her and her predecessor, Pat “Google Me” Claerbout’s poor treatment of them coupled with the cessation of new volunteer training there aren’t as many volunteers as there used to be and animal care has suffered dramatically.
Further complicating things at Baldwin Park is the fact that the facility does not attract enough adopters. For the last five years nearly half of the pets exiting Baldwin Park alive are due to transports. The large transporters, the ASPCA and Wings of Rescue, require that pets have health certificates so they can be legally shipped out of state to no-kill shelters. Health certificates require about two minutes work per pet from a veterinarian and another five minutes work from a RVT. Nearly every shelter salivates at the opportunity to transport pets and makes getting health certificates a top priority. Not so at Baldwin Park. The shelter’s medical staff have decided that it requires too much work and have blocked several transports of cats from the shelter – to the point where some transports are now bypassing Baldwin Park altogether. Considering that Baldwin Park has euthanized over 80 percent of its cat impounds you can understand how one can easily question the quality of Baldwin Park’s management.
Sheri Koenig is clearly damaged goods as far as her ability as a “shelter’ manager. Marcia Mayeda hired Koenig (and before Koenig – she hired “Google Me” Claerbout). Failing performance in the private sector would get you fired by your bosses. Failing performance in the public sector gets you a raise and a hug from Mike Antonovich and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.