Los Angeles, CA, 2/9/2006

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More details revealed from Stuckey contract
By Rick Orlov, Staff Writer

Ousted Animal Services Director Guerdon Stuckey will report on strategies used in other cities to improve spay and neuter services as well as outline what the city can do to overcome misconceptions on how animals are treated, according to a copy of his $50,000 contract obtained Wednesday by the Daily News.

The one-page document outlines eight major areas on which Stuckey is to report by April 29 as part of the golden handshake approved by the Los Angeles City Council last month in the face of his threat to sue over being fired by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller said he would not discuss the contract or what he has asked Stuckey to provide, although during City Council consideration of the matter Miller said he believed Stuckey could provide valuable information - particularly on community outreach.

Outreach to communities is the top item listed for Stuckey in the copy of his contract, which also asks him to report on how the city can overcome public mistrust of the department's treatment of pets, review how other cities have reduced euthanasia rates and analyze whether those programs could work in Los Angeles.

In addition, he is asked to look at how to increase funding for the department, boost strategies to increase pet adoptions, review public education programs and analyze the need for city facilities for animal services.

Under the terms of the agreement, Stuckey will be paid $50,000 in increments leading up to the submission of his final report. The contract also says Stuckey is to be available to talk with city officials about the status of his work 40 hours a week.

Critics have questioned the need for the contract and say that because of his limited background on animal issues, Stuckey will provide little help or insight to the department's new director, Ed Boks.

Supporters, however, say Stuckey learned a lot in his 13-month tenure before being removed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

"I found him very competent and I think I can say that he will give us a report that will help us greatly on the life and death issues involving our pets," said Councilman Tony Cardenas, who authored the motion to hire Stuckey as a consultant.

"I worked

with him on a very complicated issue involving an Animal Cruelty Task Force and he was able to pull it off with complete professionalism. I think he proved himself to be a qualified manager, even if a lot of people disagreed."

Villaraigosa did not comment directly on the consulting contract when it was authorized and does not have the authority to overturn it.

"The mayor is pleased the council agreed with his right to remove a department head," spokesman Joe Ramallo said Wednesday. "He still doesn't see any need to have Mr. Stuckey continue any service to the city."

Kynama Wald, co-founder and vice president of the Rescue and Humane Alliance, said most in the animal rights community expect the report to be of little value.

"We feel he failed as a general manager and don't see how his contributions now can be of much assistance to the city," Wald said. "To be fair, not all the problems in the department were of his doing. This department has been facing problems for a number of years.

"Nonetheless, we think he was an ineffectual general manager."

Charlotte Laws said the contract gives Stuckey a chance to redeem himself.

"But, I've seen other reports he's done and I don't hold out much hope," said Laws of the Greater Valley Glen Neighborhood Council and president of the League for Animal Protection.

Councilman Jack Weiss, who opposed the contract, said he still questions its value.

"This was a $50,000 going-away memo," Weiss said. "The people elected a new mayor last year and he is entitled to bring in his own general managers. That's what the mayor did. I see this as a waste of $50,000."

Rick Orlov, (213) 978-0390




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