CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The longtime executive director of the Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association has resigned along with three board members, and an animal rescue advocate hired in the spring has been named interim director.
Donna Clark, who has headed the humane association since 2000, will resign effective Saturday, said Roger Wolfe, president of the board of directors. Clark was involved with the shelter for more than 25 years.
Chelsea Staley, who co-founded the rescue advocacy organization Dog Bless in 2012, was appointed interim executive director after a short closed-door executive session at Thursday evening's regular meeting.
She has worked as a rescue coordinator and shelter spokeswoman since May. She was present at the meeting but left before the executive session began.
"Donna told several of us that after all these wonderful years she's burned out," Wolfe said. "I can't say as I blame her.
"She's done a great job for all these years, but you reach a point where you're doing something like she was doing -- you're going to get burned out."
He said she had been saying that for months and most recently to him within the last couple of weeks. Clark didn't attend the meeting.
Before she became executive director, Clark served as shelter manager for about nine years, according to Daily Mail archives.
Wolfe said Staley's salary as interim director was discussed during executive session and would remain confidential.
Three other resignations were tendered this week at the shelter, including that of Vice President Kim Hutton, who had been active at the shelter more than 10 years.
Hutton, who previously served as president, submitted a letter to the board but asked that it not be publicly disseminated. It was not read aloud, but several board members did pass the letter around to read it.
Wolfe said Hutton had some philosophical differences with the direction the board was heading.
"Those are Kim's opinion about things," he said of the letter. "I fully understand where she's coming from as a member of the board longer than she. Some of them I might agree with somewhat and others I don't agree with but she's certainly entitled to her opinion.
"And I can tell you that Kim has been a dedicated, loyal, excellent member of this board for many years. There are many fundraising functions that wouldn't exist without her efforts, so we're very grateful to her."
Board members Brian Richardson and Jementha Richmond also resigned Thursday. Wolfe said Richardson sent him a text message telling him he'd quit shortly before the meeting and another board member said Richmond was resigning. Wolfe said he had not spoken to Richmond.
He also believed Richardson was unhappy with the direction the board was taking.
"The one thing about this board is that every single board member I've ever served with has a common goal, they have a passion for animals and animal welfare," Wolfe said.
"But when you feel that passionately about something like animal welfare there are going to be disagreements about how you get there and as long as I've been on the board that's been the case."
Those positions will be filled at the next board meeting.
The board also voted to hire an outside consultant to help reshape the shelter. The shelter is not a no kill shelter but many members of the board want to take it in that direction, Wolfe said.
Several of the recently elected board members are involved with the Dog Bless organization.
Wolfe is hoping a consultant will aid them in moving toward the no-kill standard. The consultant also will aid in the search for a permanent executive director. The humane association is starting over from scratch, he said.
Also during the meeting, the board voted to spend up to $12,000 to remodel the main lobby in the shelter. The remodel included removing the large reception desk and replacing it with four smaller desks.
They also voted to spend $15,000 to upgrade technology. The plan is to install servers and buy new computers as well as updating the telephone system.
Also approved was $3,000 for repairs to the downstairs area of the shelter. They plan to use the downstairs portion of the building for animal intake.
Contact writer Ashley B. Craig at ashley.cr...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4850.