Fort Smith Animal Services Advisory Board chair resigns

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 143 views 

Cheryl Gilmore, chairperson of the Fort Smith Animal Services Advisory Board (ASAB), stepped down on Wednesday (July 18) after an outburst against Fort Smith Director Kevin Settle went public on Thursday (July 12).

On Wednesday, Gilmore said Settle was attempting “to completely do away with the Animal Services Advisory Board and to put a date for a final report.”

Gilmore, writing from her resignation letter to City Directors and the media, said, “I feel that Mr. Settle does not want this board nor does he want it to succeed. And I agree with him at this point. It is a redundant entity doing the busy work of the previous Animal Task Force and others.”

The resignation letter also claimed that Gilmore was subjected to harassment by unknown “person or persons,” who allegedly vandalized Gilmore’s automobile and released her dogs “from a secure yard,” taking their collars and tags in the process.
Gilmore said the incidents happened last Tuesday “after the Board of Directors Study Session,” but did not mention them in the letter to Settle last Wednesday.

Not all of the ASAB members are in agreement with Gilmore. Nichole Morgan, responding to Gilmore’s personal attack of Settle last week, called the chairperson’s behavior towards the City Director “an excessively petty and immature reaction” to what happened at the July 10 Fort Smith Board of Directors Study Session, when Settle tasked the chairperson to focus “on gathering data for the 11 things decided by the Animal Task Force.”

Settle issued a follow-up statement to Gilmore’s accusations and resignation on Wednesday afternoon in an e-mail to The City Wire.

“As I stated last Tuesday at the Study Session, the chairperson of the ASAB overstepped her bounds with the two-hour grilling session of the Humane Society director. The ASAB was asked to work cooperatively with the Humane Society to gather data related to animal issues. It was my hope then that the ASAB had gotten back on track and continued their assigned task. I requested a progress report to be presented at the end of August to ensure that the ASAB was meeting the Board of Directors' eleven goals and objectives.”

Settle continued: “With a change in leadership, it is now my hope that the ASAB will continue to serve and work to complete the goals stated by the Board of Directors in order to make a difference in animal welfare.”