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Our View: Better, quieter days ahead for GCHS?
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The past few weeks have been trying ones for those affiliated with the Green County Humane Society. The annual meeting and board election May 7 caused a lot of tension and ill feelings to surface publicly.

But there have been a couple of hopeful signs the organization can move beyond the bickering that has plagued it in the past and focus on the more important matters of keeping its financial house in order and building a new shelter for the animals.

The first GCHS board meeting following the election, on May 13, revealed feelings still were raw after the vote - which saw the four incumbent board leaders returned over four challengers. There were public claims of election fraud that followed a series of back-channel accusations the previous few days. And there were concerns raised about the process of having a nominating committee selecting board candidates.

Board member Tracy Pederson put it as well as anyone could have when she said at the meeting, "There are (GCHS) members who want to help animals, not get involved with the politics," she said, adding, "and they aren't happy."

The GCHS board has been extremely successful at improving finances, restoring public confidence and gaining momentum in the pursuit of a shelter. But it still hasn't been able to avoid or stop the public sniping that can discourage some from getting involved in the organization. Much of that sniping has been done by people affiliated with the "old regime" that nearly ruined GCHS' finances and credibility.

It's time for those folks to stop picking fights, and either find ways to help the organization or leave it. They're not doing GCHS or the animals any favors.

And it's time for the GCHS board to put a laser-like focus on ending the public turmoil that remains the biggest roadblock to public buy-in on a new shelter. That's where the hopeful signs come into play.

The first was the board's decision last Wednesday to end the practice of allowing members who are up for election to be on the nominating committee to select candidates. That was a terrible practice, and ending it will eliminate a lot of concerns about the board election process. The board would do better to take it one step further and change the bylaws to not even have a nominating committee. People who wish to run for the board should be allowed to do so without being screened by current board members. Each candidate could be required to get 20 or 30 signatures to be on the ballot, rather than just those rejected by the nominating committee.

The other hopeful sign was a letter to the editor in Monday's paper from Ryan Schutte, whose wife Yvonne is on the board. During last week's meeting, he questioned the vote counting process and the need for a nominating committee. In Monday's letter, he said it was obvious the board was "concerned that any mistakes will try to be prevented in the future." He said it was great to see so much support at the meeting and hoped everyone can "work together for the animals' well-being."

That's the approach everyone involved with GCHS must take.