Should Myrtle Beach have more involvement in the Grand Strand Humane Society?

The Sun News file photo
The Sun News file photo

A former executive director of the Grand Strand Humane Society has requested local government officials to take an added role in the organization’s day-to-day activities.

Suzanne Roman is asking Myrtle Beach city officials to increase their involvement with the organization’s board of directors, citing the $230,000 in funds allocated to the Grand Strand Humane Society.

Currently, Myrtle Beach officials don’t have a remedy for the dispute.

“I don’t know that there’s an answer at this point,” Myrtle Beach city spokesperson Mark Kruea said. “The city owns the building, the city provides some funding so that the humane society can take care of our stray and unwanted animals, and we provide two animal control officers to help with that process. We don’t actually run the humane society.

“One of the first steps may be to check with our board appointments, the city council board appointments and get a report back from them. It’s one of those things that’s likely to require more explanation and more conversation.”

During Tuesday’s Myrtle Beach City Council meeting, local humane society volunteer and former board member Amy Wingard claimed she wanted the governing body “to put some more pressure” on the organization’s current board of directors.

“I don’t think the current members are effective and certainly not in hiring or keeping an executive director,” she said. “I don’t think it has any effect in the animals. I don’t want that to transfer over to anybody to think this not a great place to go adopt an animal or to support financially or in any way.

“Hopefully, the community will look past it and look at it from the political standpoint it seems to be and not the welfare of the animals.”

Local Humane Society board of directors president Elena Nicholas claims the municipality is already informed of all board activities, though also stating more regulations at the government level were needed.

Roman spent 16 months as executive director at the Grand Strand Humane Society before resigning in January.

“The main decision that got me to resign was that they had hired for the former treasurer for a role he created, and head been given benefits that no other part-time employee would receive, would not report to me even though I’m in charge of hiring all of the staff and supervising everyone there,” she said. “He would report directly to the board and I just felt that was really unethical to the point where I gave up a job I really enjoy, because I just did not believe that was the right thing.”

Roman added city officials have reached out to discuss why she resigned from her post. Kruea also acknowledged such has occurred, though discussions have yet to take place.

The Grand Strand Board of Directors features six members, two of them appointed by the City of Myrtle Beach — Larry Bragg and Susan Means.

Megan Tomasic: 843-626-0343, @MeganTomasic