What the 53 Layoffs in Dallas Animal Services Will Mean as City Reorganizes the Department

Categories: City Hall
PuppiesatDallasAnimal Services.jpg
Photo by Mark Graham
Straight off, City Hall spokesman Frank Librio would like us to clarify something he told Anna yesterday: It's not that new Dallas Animal Services director Jody Jones isn't ready to handle media requests, as we noted, it's just that she's "focusing on operations at the moment and not handling media inquiries yet." By which he means: There's a major shake-up presently taking place at DAS, involving 53 workers receiving their RIF notices, and she's got her hands full.

This morning, I asked Librio for further info about those layoffs; Joey Zapata, the interim city manager tasked with code compliance, called back to explain.

Says Zapata, those 53 RIFs are being doled out per City Manager Mary Suhm's budget-saving recommendations that involve a significant "reorganization" at the recently beleaguered city-run animal shelter. That will involve collapsing some positions, filling others with temporary workers and outsourcing other duties, chief among them animal-cruelty investigations.

"We are not going to have 53 fewer positions," Zapata tells Unfair Park. "We're going to have roughly the same number of positions, give or take one, but in different functions. The way it's broken out among different staff members has changed."

Which means?

"For instance," Zapata says, "we have animal keepers who do two different kinds of things. They clean the kennels and kind of keep an eye on the animals. They're also the customer service people who sit at the desks, and those are two different functions." Recently, he says, the city began using contract labor, which is to say, temps, to clean the kennels and tend to the animals -- work that's "labor intensive," he says, but easy enough to train people to do once they've been given the proper instructions.

"It's nothing too complicated," he says. "The customer service representative is a little more skilled [position], and they're better able to engage the public and walk the shelter and make sure it's presentable, clean, healthy. And they can oversee the animal keepers."

Zapata also says the city will now do without some of the so-called senior animal officers, who, like the regular animal officers, are out in the field, collecting strays and issuing citations to their owners. Right now, there's but one difference in the positions: Senior, he says, "are tasked with the responsibility of doing euthanasia. But there's a smaller number of those senior officers, and I don't think it's good to keep that one function in one small group since it's so stressful. So we'll expand the number of regular officers and the number of supervisors, since we're a 24/7 service."

Lastly, to the issue of animal cruelty investigations. Right now, those calls are handled internally: If a call comes in, a regular ol' animal officer goes out to substantiate the charge. If they can confirm, then a senior animal officer's sent out. That, far as the city's concerned, is too much for the city to handle.

"So we'll contract that follow-up for substantiated cruelty cases to the SPCA, which already handles other animal cruelty cases in the municipalities around us," Zapata says. "They're also sworn in those counties -- we'll have to work out an arrangement here -- but that means they can do more in terms of taking the cases fo the district attorney."
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Johasahousefull
Johasahousefull

Oh, I forgot to mention in my last posting, they are hiring temps who have criminal back grounds and many who do not even like animals. I work there and I know te truth! Not what city hall wants you to believe!! Who will you all believe, and actual worker of DAS or city officials?? They would never lie to the public would they??? Haha! The city of Dallas is run by crooks!! I can assure you, NO ONE from city hall has ever taken 5 minutes to walk through the shelter, nor have they ever taken any interest in the daily work at the shelter, or do any of them care about the animals!!!

BCulbreath
BCulbreath

Manager wants to cut cost by using Temps save on benefit.If every thing will be contracted out why do they need Director? This will be another group of working people without health insurance that once had it.You still think new health law is wrong? What if any of these people have an illness?

Johasahousefull
Johasahousefull

Wow, it's amazing how good the media can make this sound! Oh how Joey can sugar coat the situation. And the SPCA taking over cruelties??? I challenge you to call them and report a cruelty matter. It's a 6 to 8 week waiting process. Plus they have NO legal authority in Texas. So they are very limited on their actions. Again, the animal suffer!!!

Sruth50
Sruth50

Well, once again the animals, who can't defend themselves get screwed.  The people who work hard with the rescue groups and the rescue groups get screwed as well.  More dogs & cats will not even get a chance with the layoffs that they are making.

Lee
Lee

Translation:  We are cutting real jobs with decent wages and replacing people with temps that cost less and are not actually under our control.  And, just for fun, we are making the people who are getting fired train their contract labor replacements.   Disgusting.  But, all the tea party folks out there who would not allow even a penny increase in taxes must have a self-satisfied smirk on their faces as they see all city services cut. Who cares about how people and animals are actually affected?  Shame on the city leadership for caving in.

lorlee
lorlee

I went to one of those budget meetings the other night and it seems that the ones who are sacrificing in this budget are those least able.  We are privatizing park maintenance, these employees at animal control and firing janitors. 

And when they privatize things, the employees of the contractor generally end up as contract workers without any benefits and working for minimum wage. 

The City manager at the meeting I attended insisted that no one working for the City made less than $10/hr -- Oh, except those who are "temporary" employees.  I expect a lot of those Sanitation workers have been "temporary" for years.

Let's cut us a few assistant City Managers and keep those who really do the work. 

Mike
Mike

What is it going to take the former director off the payroll?  It's not the case of the century.  He should have gone within a few weeks. 

Save Them
Save Them

God save the poor animals from the bureaucrats and their great ideas.  DAS/SPCA - try to get help for a suffering animal from either one of them.  Also, it has been over a year since Tyrone McGill was removed from the director position he held at Dallas Animal Services.  During that time he has received more than $66,000 of taxpayer money and has had the freedom to spend his days on the golf course or in front of the TV or whatever it is that he does.  Will he ever be brought to justice for allowing the horrible torture and death of a helpless animal at DAS - - or is leading the public to believe that he will answer for this just one more joke being played on all of us?

AskTheMexican
AskTheMexican

I wonder if they offer volunteer opportunities like they do at SPCA. I think that would help have more of a transparency within the department.

Russp
Russp

I wonder how these layoffs help with the issues addresses in the Humane Society evaluation of the shelter.

http://humanewatch.org/index.p...

informed citizen.
informed citizen.

H$U$ is just a cash cow.  They have little to no expierence in actual animal sheltering.  If they truly wanted to help the animals, they really could throw some of that actual cash they claim goes to helping animals to actually help them.  Read further into that site to see the deceit that surrounds H$U$

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