By JOE R. BOWLING JR.
“This is a perfect example of an open door policy working in this country.” These were the words from new President of the Laguna Madre Humane Society (LMHS), Beth Fedigan, after an agreement was reached between LMHS and the City of Port Isabel regarding the operations at the animal Shelter.
The two sides had been at odds for some time and a court date was set for Tuesday morning, in which the city was prepared to evict LMHS from the premises and take over control. A series of events leading right up to that meeting in court led to a resolution and both parties are happy with the results.
“We had been wanting to sit down and negotiate this for a long time,” said City Manager Ed Meza. “We are pleased that we will be working together with common goals.”
Friday afternoon the LMHS Board Members received word that Director of Operations Laura Johnson was no longer in that position. Sunday an email was received by LMHS that President Margaret Ingle had resigned. By Sunday night Fedigan, then Vice President assumed the new position and immediately went to work on trying to resolve the conflict.
“We talked at length in meetings, by phone and by emails,” said Fedigan, “and by Monday morning I had a plan that I was ready to take to the city. The next step was to see if they would at least talk, and thankfully they did.”
A phone call to Meza early Monday morning asking for a meeting allowed for the city to see that there was still a chance to avoid going to court.
“We knew that if we could sit down with them,” said LMHS Board member Chrissy Dijkman, “that we could get this worked out.”
After consultation from attorneys, Meza received the OK to speak directly to LMHS and a meeting was set for Tuesday morning.
“A concerned citizen (Bill Thacker) really is the one that made the first call to me asking me to give this one more chance before going to court,” said Meza. “He was working with both sides in the background. From there, LMHS took the approach that they wanted to work things out and the meeting was set.”
For more on this story, pick up a copy of the Apr. 21 edition of the Port Isabel South Padre Press or check out our E-edition by clicking here.