After ongoing problems at Louisville Metro Animal Services, interim Director Wayne Zelinsky resigned effectively immediately this morning.
Debbie Fox, Deputy Director of MetroSafe, has been named the new interim director of Louisville Metro Animal Services by Mayor Greg Fischer following Zelinsky’s departure.
“Debbie is a solid leader who has been nationally recognized and has a proven track record in customer service,” Fischer said in a press release. “I’m confident that she will effectively manage Animal Services during this transition period.”
Zelinsky served as LMAS’ interim director for just over a year, following the resignation of former director Gilles Meloche on Dec. 31, 2009. Both have been named defendants in sexual harassment lawsuits filed by former employees.
After LEO Weekly and other media outlets reported on worsening conditions and mismanagement at LMAS’ Manslick Road shelter since Zelinsky came to power, the Fischer administration announced a review of the city agency at a Jan. 7 press conference — as well as inexplicable plans to retain Zelinsky until a new full-time director could be chosen.
At the January press conference, LEO Weekly asked the mayor why not fire Zelinsky immediately and replace him with an” interim-interim director.”
“You mean, like a double-secret interim interim director?” Fischer joked. “We want to give everybody the benefit of the doubt on any type of employee review.”
When pressed further on the question, Fischer said, “Well, again: this is my fifth day as mayor … Sadiqa will be running that.”
More details to come following a 1 p.m. press conference, which will be livestreamed.
UPDATE: After countless stories of managerial ineptitude, wanton animal slaughter and , the resignation of Zelinsky apparently came down to the fact that the outgoing interim director operates an escort service, Derby City VIP, news of which first broke on The Ville Voice less than 24 hours ago.
“We advised Wayne last night that we were aware of a website that he had up and running, and we discussed that with him and he came in this morning and resigned,” Fischer said at the press conference, held in Metro Hall this afternoon. “The point is that he is running an operation outside of what his normal, day-to-day operation is. We just brought it to his attention and we told him we need to discuss it with him and he decided to resign.”
According its website (which has since been taken down), Derby City VIP offered guidance on Louisville’s best strip clubs, security details and other escort services.
As the press conference waned on, so too did Fischer’s countenance: The fledgling mayor became so visibly spooked by the incessant questioning from the media that it seems as though he forgot to introduce Fox, who stood nearby, presumably waiting for an introduction to the throng of reporters that never happened.
In the meantime, Fischer’s Chief of Community Building, Judge Sadiqa Reynolds, will continue her top-to-bottom audit of LMAS.
Applications for LMAS’ full-time director will be taken until Feb. 13, and a new director will be named as early as April.
We’ll update again once we get Zelinsky’s resignation letter.
UPDATE #2: Here’s the full text of Zelinsky’s terse resignation letter, which was submitted to Reynolds:
Dear Ms. Reynolds,
Please accept this letter as my two week notice, resigning as Interim Director of Metro Animal Services effective 2/16/2011. Thank you for the opportunity to serve within Louisville Metro Government.