CASPCA Interim Executive Director speaks on new role, internal review

Sue Friedman is taking over the role of interim executive director at the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA.
Published: May. 26, 2023 at 5:52 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Sue Friedman is taking over the role of interim executive director at the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA.

“I’m here to be a guide and a coach. Because good people are here,” Friedman said.

Friedman is walking into a challenging situation. Former Executive Director Angie Gunter was placed on administrative leave and ultimately let go following an independent review of the workplace culture and animal care practices at the facility.

“We just want to make sure people know that the staff that’s here, they’re here because through thick and thin, they put the vision and mission first,” Friedman said.

Friedman says communication inside the facility and with stakeholders is a big part of her mission.

“Through the unfortunate review, they really aligned up five or six goals for us in particular, and they revolve around really looking at our operations and tightening it up and revising it where it needs to be and adding documents where we need to have them,” Friedman said.

Friedman says documents were a big part of what went wrong previously with the SPCA.

“We try to maintain records based on the origin of the animal, and so we messed up on some of those color codings,” Friedman said.

She also says that in its investigation, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services found that none of the previous problems were about the pets inside.

“They were here, February 14. they found no violations of animal care, no animal neglect, no animal cruelty. So there’s been some misinformation about that in the community,” Friedman said.

Friedman hopes to get staffing numbers back up after some people left during and after the review.

“I feel very honored and pretty humbled that I was approached, and that they believe, and I agree, that I could be of benefit to where they are and where they need to go,” Friedman said.

While she has many goals in mind, Friedman says one of them is not being the permanent executive director.

“I’m still thinking about that, but I don’t think I am the exact right fit at this point in my personal career,” Friedman said.

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