An Open Letter to the TWS Board of Directors, Pt. 3

Dear Tammy, Gail, and the TWS Board of Directors,

You may be relieved to know that this is the third and final open letter that you will receive from me for the foreseeable future. Regretfully, I feel like this practice has been a significant waste of my time as I have yet to hear a respectable answer from anyone on your side. Based on my experience and what I have heard from others, silence has been your universal MO during this self-inflicted crisis you have brought to an organization many people, including myself, have come to love and value as a major part of their lives. 

Although my letters (part 1 and part 2) have not received responses, I feel like I have gotten to know each of you very well over the past 3 weeks. Your treatment of this situation says a lot about your personalities, your ethics, and your leadership abilities. I’d like to take this opportunity to give The Wildcat Sanctuary’s Board of Directors an unofficial performance review. 

I don’t really know where to start with this because your communication skills have been a disaster from the beginning, well before the KSTP report aired. Donors and Volunteers had a right to know about the allegations brought against Tammy the week the Dorsey & Whitney report was delivered to you. Since then, the silence has been deafening. Not only have questions gone unanswered, but you have supplied outright lies to the public, seeking to defame the former staff who were simply trying to protect the organization when they brought their concerns to the board. What else have you been lying about? 

Decision Making
By terminating the entire staff, you demonstrated that you are more interested in covering something up then admitting to the truth and seeking forgiveness through transparency, not to mention the best interest of the cats you claim to be serving so well. As this situation continues to evolve, you move farther and farther away from any hope of forgiveness and trust, thereby causing irreparable damage to the sanctuary’s image. When the truth is known, the rest of its supporters will leave in droves because they will have tied Tammy’s wrong-doings to TWS itself. I know many of you are new to the board, but even if you were not directly involved with these recent actions, you must be held at least partially accountable for them if you continue to ignore the questions that are being asked of you. How long can you hide the truth?

Using the TWS website to post propaganda seeking to clear Tammy’s name is truly low. You give a skewed perspective of a situation to hide what has actually happened. You are lying to supporters by sugar-coating problems that may have catastrophic repercussions if they are not handled correctly. Deleting comments and questions from concerned supporters is another one of those “no-nos” that they tell you about in Social Media 101. Not only did you leave the feeling of concern nagging at the back of everyone’s mind, allowing it to fester into uncertainty, but you personally insulted anyone whose comment you deleted. How long will the organization survive as you continue to disrespect everyone’s loyalty and intelligence like this?

People Skills
As a volunteer who has dedicated hundreds of hours to help TWS through on-site construction, off-site events and online resources, with both manual labor and professional services, I have never felt so devalued or insulted until you cut off all the volunteers without explanation. You poured salt on the wounds when you refused to answer my questions or the questions asked by my friends and fellow volunteers. Three weeks into this situation and we continue to be under the volunteer moratorium with no idea as to when it will be lifted. It is impossible to believe everything is going smoothly on the sanctuary grounds when you have cut off all of the experienced volunteers who made the organization what it is. When the volunteers finally are allowed back, I wonder how many of them will actually return after being treated with such complete disrespect. Can the sanctuary survive without a strong network of dedicated volunteers who unwaveringly support the mission and values of TWS?

At this point, I think you know where this is going to end. I feel like I have painted an adequate picture of how thoroughly you have failed all of us: the donors, the volunteers and the cats. In fact, your failure on this situation is almost so magnificent as to be applause-worthy. Quality leadership would have provided direction and sought to help supporters understand what the changes were and why certain decisions were made. Yet you all hide behind misdirection and lies. When was deception ever a respectable or desirable quality to have in leadership?

Overall Assessment
As it stands, I don’t see much hope for the current leadership and I definitely don’t see any action being taken on the promise of transparency. While you may be successful in putting off the inevitable, I only see your actions as having a poisonous result for the organization and the cats which it claims to protect. This situation can easily become an example of animals being harmed because of your human error. 

Recommendations for Improvement

  • Explain the entire situation from your perspective; if not publicly, at least provide it to the volunteers and key donors.
  • Host an open-forum “town hall” style event where volunteers, staff, and former staff may voice their concerns and receive answers without hostility or evasion.
  • Introduce yourselves and explain your qualifications and roles in the organization, be it in person or online via the still negligently empty Board of Directors web page.  
  • Above all, stop treating this situation so lightly in your public communications. After the coming extensive investigation, it could easily become the death of the sanctuary and should be treated with gravity.

We continue to wait for the answers we deserve as people who have donated time and money for something we passionately care about. I may be done bothering with you; however, I’m not done looking for the truth. I know the truth will be found soon; it’s just unfortunate that you were not wise enough to provide it yourself. 

Katherine Block