PASART - A Critical Update
- Published on Saturday, 10 June 2017 13:44
- Written by DRC
This is a tough budget year but this is a pivotal point for PA State Animal Response Team. If we fail to obtain funding to recruit and hire a new Executive Director in the next year, the program may be dissolved. It would then be up to each County to operate emergency animal rescue and sheltering on their own. Some will rise to the challenge and others will ignore it until a disaster occurs. Then the citizens of those counties may be at the mercy of those that did prepare. Help keep PASART strong by making a donation today.
At it's most recent Board meeting, a proposed agreement to take over PASART and run it as a wholly-owned subsidiary was withdrawn by the Board of HSHA after the Board of PASART voted to explore another offer.
The other offer is a joint venture by the PA Veterinary Medical Association and PennAg that will provide PASART with management services. This agreement would kick-in after the retirement of current Executive Director Joel Hersh and last for up to a year. In that time the PASART Board will be under the gun to find funding to hire a new Executive Director and manage the program until that person can be seated and trained.
Over the last decade, many of the tasks that should have been performed by the Board and its officers, were instead left to Joel Hersh. The Board has a Chair, Secretary and Treasurer. It should also have had a Vice-Chair but that position has been left vacant for years. Now, with the new agreement with PVMA and PennAg, there are tasks these management service providers cannot and should not do. These tasks should be done by these officers and the Board at large. Some of these include reporting back to PEMA and other granters on the uses of the grant money, calling Board meetings, scheduling Board elections of officers, recruiting and vetting new Board members and staffing the PEMA emergency operations center during disasters.
PFDC President Darin Cox pointed out to the others on the PASART Board that PFDC member organizations have been actively soliciting donations and providing them to PASART. So far in 2017, our member organizations Liberty English Cocker Spaniel Fanciers, Skycastle French Hounds, the Lehigh Valley Kennel Club and PFDC have already donated a total of $1500. This is obviously well short of the $200,000 minimum needed by PASART annually to hire an Executive Director and keep the program running efficiently. However, if every member of the PASART Board sought similar funding from the constituents, we could cover that minimum.
Darin also pointed out, and Joel Hersh confirmed, that he was the only Board member to travel with Mr. Hersh to presentation on the PASART program. He is also one of the only Board members to independently schedule and present the PASART program across the Commonwealth. Darin challenged the other Board members to step up and do likewise. PASART's need for new volunteers closely matches it's need for new funding. PFDC will be doing presentations of PASART equipment, meeting with legislative aides and the public during the Memorial Weekend cluster in New Castle. Also during the All About Dogs Day with the Berks County Kennel Club and Berks County Dog Training Club in Sinking Springs (near
Reading) on June 24. Members of PFDC member clubs can support these displays by coming out to stand with us for an hour or two.
PFDC has also been in the lead on lobbying efforts in the PA Legislature to secure state funding for PASART. House Emergency Preparedness and Veterans Affairs Chairman, Representative Stephen Barrar, wrote a strong letter of support to the House Appropriations Chairman, Representative Stan Saylor, for a line-item in the state budget for PASART. It is very important that members of member organizations in Representative Saylor's District in York County contact him and express support for the PASART program.