Julie Bank, Executive Director of the New York City Animal Care and Control department, announced this week that she is resigning from her position. The city’s animal facilities are notorious for a high kill rate, the ease with which cats and dogs are placed on the kill lists, and for rampant respiratory infections. Some animal advocates and members of the public have directed their frustration with the department toward Ms. Bank, in her role as the responsible party representing the ACC’s inability to make desired changes.
The ACC shelters, and some staff and volunteers in particular, work with rescues and advocates to help get animals pulled from the euth lists. Advocates have become well organized, using social media to post and network for animals in danger of being killed.
Some advocates have publicly called for Julie Bank to be removed from her position, and there has been a change.org petition, since closed, set up to that end. Director Bank gives family concerns as her reason for leaving the post, in a statement sent out to staff and volunteers.
The statement from Julie Bank:
It is with a heavy heart that I write to inform you that I have decided to leave my position at Animal Care & Control of NYC (ACC). I have family issues that I need to address and I am sure you understand that family always comes first.
I have truly loved my experience working at ACC mainly because of the people who work and volunteer every day to save lives and to help people. You are the most talented, caring, professional, people I have ever worked for and I will miss you.
ACC is well on its way to become the organization we all want it to be. Your commitment and dedication to the process it takes to make change and to the work that you do is amazing. The human and the non-human lives that you touch depend on you and you handle the charge with humility and determination. Even when there is adversity you stand strong, and proud, and continue to work as a team towards caring for lives that need us. I will remember each and every one of you for that reason.
My last day at ACC will be October 19th. Risa Weinstock will take over the helm as Interim Executive Director while the ACC board of directors does a search for a permanent replacement. ACC’s management team, Richard Gentles, Director of Communications and Development, MeLissa Webber, Interim Director of Operations, Michael Pastore, Assistant Director of Operations and all of the Managers will continue to work with you towards ACC strategic plans and goals. You will be in great hands, I promise. In the meantime, I will work with Risa to ensure a smooth transition. ACC will always remain in my heart.
Official news release from the Health Department, which runs the ACC:
HEALTH DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES RISA WEINSTOCK NAMED AS ACTING EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF AC&C
September 26, 2012 – The Health Department today announced that Julie Bank is resigning from her position as Executive Director of Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C) effective October 19th. Ms. Bank will be stepping down from her position for family reasons.
Ms. Bank started with AC&C in early 2010 as the Executive Director and has been a valued leader over the past three years. During Ms. Bank’s tenure, the intake of unwanted animals to the shelters dropped by 9%, euthanasia fell by 13%, and the city reached a landmark agreement to increase funding for shelter and clinical operations and field and adoption services by 77% by 2014.
Beginning October 20, Risa Weinstock will become the Acting Executive Director. Ms. Weinstock started with AC&C in 2008 and previously served as the Acting Executive Director in the year prior to Ms. Bank’s appointment.
Interim Executive Director Rissa Weinstock was also acting director before Julie Bank filled the position. Advocates and interested city residents will make their wishes on policy, practice and funding for the NYC ACC known at this point of transition for the Health Department run animal shelter system. There has been a high turnover rate for the position, which animal lovers cite as one reason for the department’s chronically troubled management practices.