As the nonprofit Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals prepares to close three animal shelters in reaction to a 25 percent loss in its endowment, advocates for animals are questioning the pay packages of the society's top administrators.
Four of the top five officials at the MSPCA make more than $200,000 annually, according to the organization's latest tax-exempt filing.
On Feb. 5, the MSPCA announced the closure of shelters in Brockton, Martha's Vineyard, and Springfield by the end of September and will downsize several programs and departments at its Boston office. MSPCA spokesman Brian Adams said a total of 46 positions would be eliminated. The three shelters slated to close cared for 11,000 animals last year. Four other MSPCA shelters, located in Boston, Methuen, on Cape Cod, and Nantucket, will remain open. Adams declined to reveal the annual operating budgets of any of the shelters.
Oh by all means, don't reveal any information not required by law. Follow the golden (parachute) rule: When confronted, hide.
Mr. Adams added this tidbit of justification:
"We have to attract the right talent, and we have to remain competitive. We can't remain competitive by asking people to work for free."
By gosh by golly, if only there could be some sort of compromise to be found somewhere between a $200k annual paycheck and working "for free". I hope science and technology someday advances us to the point where we could figure out that conundrum.
In the meantime, I'd like to point out that in fact, many animal lovers do "work for free" at animal shelters all over this country. They're called volunteers. I'm not saying shelters shouldn't pay staff, but I do think it's past time for many shelters to think outside the box. The days of ignoring the economic climate and maintaining the status quo are over. It's 2009, join us.