Annette Ramirez will continue as acting general manager of Los Angeles Animal Services after her reappointment was confirmed by the Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday, although council members expressed a desire to install a permanent chief. of a department accused of negligence towards animals and insufficient manpower.
Ramirez has served as interim general manager since Dana Brown left for another role with the city earlier this year. The board voted 13-0 on Tuesday to extend Ramirez’s term for six months, after which the board is expected to reappoint him.
Councilor Bob Blumenfield reluctantly voted in favor, lamenting that the city had yet to name a permanent chief executive. Blumenfield blamed the “unfortunate situation” for an incoming transition between mayoral administrations. Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is being removed from office, is expected to step down in December.
“We’re not getting the strong leadership that we need,” Blumenfield said. “So as a council, we need to step up and make that happen.”
Harrison Wollman, Garcetti’s spokesman, said the mayor “recognizes that the current conditions at the shelters are unacceptable and has directed his office to increase staffing as quickly as possible.”
“The mayor’s office is also working with the department to revise its activity tracking process, which will help animals receive more attention and physical activity, and is increasing pet adoptions. mobile,” Wollman’s statement continued.
Ramirez worked at Los Angeles Animal Services for 22 years and was most recently assistant general manager of Lifesaving.
Councilman Paul Koretz, chairman of the committee that oversees animal welfare, said Ramirez should not be blamed for the department’s “systemic” problems. Last week, Koretz introduced a motion asking city officials to determine budget needs to staff seven animal shelters.
Koretz said the city only has enough money from the General Fund to operate four shelters, instead of the six it currently runs, plus a seventh operated under contract with a nonprofit group.
His motion would explore additional funding options such as a possible parcel or sales tax, and options for using general bonds.
The council’s staff, audits and animal welfare committee held the second of two special meetings last week on conditions at animal shelters. Callers to both meetings lamented alleged animal neglect and understaffing at city facilities, and accused the department of firing several volunteers for reporting various issues at the shelters in a Los Angeles Times article. in July which largely exposed the problems.
“The problem is that the mayor sets a budget and the chief executive is very hesitant not to be a team player,” Koretz said during Tuesday’s council meeting. “The thing is, it’s a department that’s never been adequately funded.”