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Observations and musings on Jacksonville Politics

The Revolving Dog House Door

The City has hired a new Chief for the Animal Care and Control Division – Scott Trebatoski, who will start work on Monday.  Scott comes to Jacksonville from Lee County where he was the director of Lee County Animal Services.  Back in 2007, Mr. Trebatoski either quit Lee County without notice because he was “burned out” or he was let go by his bosses – it’s hard to tell which, though. 

According to this December 2007 article in the Naples News:

Most indications are that Trebatoski was an exemplary employee during his nearly 10 years with the county. He served as director of Animal Services for the past six years. Before that he was a program manager in the county’s Human Resources department.

His employee evaluations contain glowing reviews, including a 20.5 percent raise in June 2006 when his “Continued performance at highest level merits maximization within pay range.”

On his own time, Trebatoski serves as president of the Florida Animal Control Association.

But it had been two years since Trebatoski received a formal review. A few months ago Hammond, who was recently made his immediate supervisor, gave Trebatoski some issues to work on.

In a letter, Hammond described allegations of theft, substance abuse and negative morale within the ranks at Animal Services.

Trebatoski said he was working out the issues and had received positive confirmation from Hammond.

A few days later, on Nov. 8, Hammond called Trebatoski into his office and let him go. Trebatoski was offered a severance package that included three months salary, but he declined to take it because he would have had to agree never to work for the county again.

“I was absolutely stunned,” Trebatoski said. “But I do understand if an employer wants to make a change that is within their right. I just have heartburn over the way it was done.”

In the week following Trebatoski’s departure, Hammond told volunteers and employees at Animal Services, commissioners and members of the press that he left because he was burned out.

This doesn’t bode well for the City’s Animal Care & Control, but Trebatoski has said he’s looking for a place where he “can make a difference”.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure Jacksonville is a place where he can make a difference, even if he wants to.

The last person that tried to make a difference at Animal Care and Control was David Flagler and the City unceremoniously dumped him over a year ago.  That was a bad decision in my opinion as he was well-respected in the community for his advocacy on behalf of the animals.  He even went as far as to hit up City Council for additional funding.  Unfortunately, he talked to Council members without the Administration’s permission. The next thing you know, when Mr. Flager returned from a two-week vacation he found a Mr. Fred Forbes sitting in his desk doing his work. 

I am glad the Administration has finally found someone to head up Animal Care and Control.  And I wish both both Trebatoski and the Administration good luck in this new relationship, although I think we can already see the writing on the wall.  And that is truly disappointing – as our citizenry and our animals deserve better.

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  1. […] a comment » On Friday this past week, we reported on the new head of the City’s Animal Care & Control, Scott Trebatoski and his ouster […]

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