An all-new board of directors for the Molokai Humane Society was chosen last Friday at the Mitchell Pau’ole Center during the non-profit group’s annual meeting.
The MoHS bylaws allow five to seven people on its board. Voted onto the board were Lyndon Dela Cruz, Tony Lauifi, Nan Walters, Karen Buhr and Frank Pratt. A sixth candidate, Darryl Canady, was not selected because he did not receive the requisite votes from 50 percent of the MoHS members in attendance.
Because last year’s board members had all been appointed, none of them chose to run for election. At the last annual meeting held June 20, 2011, the MoHS membership had not put forward any names to run for the board. Without any candidates, the board members were forced to reappoint themselves, as allowed under the bylaws if no candidates are nominated.
The MoHS had received criticism from its membership for not holding elections last year. Some members claimed they didn’t present any candidates because they had not received adequate notice of the last annual meeting.
“No one knew when the annual meeting was,” said MoHS member Jody Canady. “They never notified the membership.”
Besides holding elections at the July 20 annual meeting, it was also a chance to review the accomplishments from the past year. Just under 1,500 animals were treated over the past year, according to MoHS Executive Director Jenn Whitted.
“That’s a huge amount for this island, way more than we have ever done in the past,” said Whitted.
The storage container in Ho’olehua, which serves as the home for MoHS, has also been improved. The waiting area is now covered, a new sign was installed and a new storage container was brought in that doubles the size of the facility and allows for a separate, sterile area for surgery.
But the biggest development over the past year has been the hiring of a full-time veterinarian. In the past, a visiting vet would come in once a week. With the arrival of Dr. Stewart Morgan last November, animals were being treated five days a week by a vet.
The 2011-12 fiscal year was also the first year the MoHS has hired a full-time paid director. While some members have questioned the need for a director, Whitted, who earned a $40,000 salary, said it was necessary to fulfill the requirements of The Shields Animal Shelter Foundation, which offers matching funds for all the MoHS fundraising efforts.
Financially, the MoHS appears to be on solid ground. The balance sheet shows that at the end of the fiscal year, June 30, the MoHS had $93,531 in the bank after paying all expenses. Total income for the non-profit was $336,208, with approximately half coming from Maui County and the Shields Foundation and the other half coming from fees charged for services, membership dues and other donations. MoHS also earned money at a Cinqo de Mayo Mexican dinner fundraiser at Hotel Molokai.
The projected expenses on this year’s budget are only slightly higher than last year. Costs and income balance out at $370,000 with the majority, $224,000, covering personnel expenses. The largest salaries are Dr. Morgan, $103,000, and Whitted, $45,000. Two veterinary assistants, a bookkeeper, a clinic director and receptionist make up the other salaries.
Income is projected to come from these sources: $75,000 from Maui County; $75,000 from Shields Animal Shelter; $100,000 from grants, donations and fundraising; $20,000 from facility fee and retail amd $100,000 from vet services.
Whitted said she plans to offer an expanded spaying and neutering program this year through the ASPCA. With this program, Whitted believes the MoHS will become eligible for more grants from companies like Petsmart and other smaller organizations. “There is no question it will open doors for us,” said Whitted.
For animal owners, the biggest change will probably be the expanded hours of operation. Currently, the clinic on Maunaloa Highway is open Monday through Friday, 8 to noon. Starting Aug. 1, the hours will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday 8 a.m.-2 p.m. for surgery only or minor services. Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. the clinic will be open for appointments.
In the event of a health emergency, animal owners can always bring in their pets during these hours. For example, if your animal is not eating or drinking water and is vomiting, the vet will stop surgery to attend to the animal. But if it is not an actual emergency, Witted urges people to call 558-0000 and make an appointment.
Whitted hopes that this is the year the MoHS finds a permanent home. Currently, the MoHS pays the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands a month-to-month lease to use the property.
“This next fiscal year I really see us finding a forever home,” said Whitted. “That is something I’m really passionate about because that will also open us up to more funding … a lot of people won’t fund a program that operates month-to-month.”