As a community, Montgomery County should give incoming Animal Shelter Director Aaron Johnson a good chance to succeed

Incoming Montgomery County Animal Shelter Director Aaron Johnson. That’s a cat on his shoulder.

ERIC YOLLICK, The Golden Hammer

Conroe, May 5 – The next Montgomery County Animal Shelter Director Aaron Johnson will report for duty on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. He’ll succeed a very popular Director, Charles Jackson, who quit who succeeded a very unpopular Director, Todd “Boss” Hayden, who left the job by other means…

It’s very important we welcome Johnson, work hard not to scare him away, and unite behind him as the leader for the animal caring community in Montgomery County. Animal shelters often attract differing opinions and various groups of people. After Tim Holifield sold Care Corporation, the company running the Shelter, to two veterinarians, the entire operation went downhill quite rapidly. Freshman County Commissioner Jim Clark (Precinct 4) made a giant mistake by agreeing to take on the Animal Shelter under his direction. While Clark had a big heart for the job, he was a terrible listener, didn’t know how to manage a shelter, and created some huge problems at the Animal Shelter and Animal Control.

Charles Jackson was truly an amazing leader of the Shelter. He began work on December 12, 2016, and almost instantly cleaned the place, moved animals toward successful adoptions, and invited the volunteers and fosters back into the Animal Shelter family of operations. Jackson made the mistake of ignoring the terrible political atmosphere of Montgomery County wherein a County Judge, Craig Doyal, is jealous of other people’s political power and simply won’t stand for it. Only Department Directors, such as Building Maintenance Department Paul Case, who engender Doyal’s dictatorial and hyper political rule, can make it in the County government at the present time.

Johnson will need to keep his head down and go about his business. The fosters and volunteers, as a group, aren’t particularly political people. Jackson made the mistake of forming strong alliances with some of Doyal’s political enemies. Johnson shouldn’t form alliances with anyone other than the people who work directly with the Shelter to improve the conditions of the animals there and to move them into happy homes.

The Animal Shelter should not be a political football.

The Golden Hammer obtained Johnson’s entire employment file from the Human Resources Department. His qualifications are nothing short of outstanding. He received as Associate’s Degree from Houston Community College and has certificates as an Emergency Medical Technician, on the Chameleon database, as an Animal Cruelty Investigator, and on certain computers and computer applications. Johnson currently works as the Medical Services Manager for the County of Houston – BARC Animal Shelter making $67,000 per year. Before he became the Medical Services Manager, Johnson worked as a Shelter Supervisor, Veterinary Technician, and Animal Control Officer. Johnson’s references were excellent and unequivocal.

Dr. Melia Washington, the Medical Director of the Loretta Veterinary Medical Center of Spring, told Montgomery County’s HR Director Dodi Shaw:

“Trying to put on paper the type of friend, employee, leader and worker that Aaron is, is nearly impossible. For years he was, and remains to be, the person I trust to assist me in surgical procedures, share ideas and thoughts about the future of BARC, and a man I have seen continue to grow and mature as a leader and person. He not only has the passion and desire to lead Montgomery County into more success, but the training, experience and years of guidance to fully prepare him for this position…He would be an outstanding director of your shelter.”

On April 26, 2017, Johnson accepted the County’s offer for employment in the position of Animal Shelter Director 17 minutes after the County offered him the position at $100,000 per year salary. That’s an enthusiastic applicant.

What’s most striking about Johnson is how his personality changes. When The Golden Hammer interviewed Johnson on April 27, Johnson sounded like a normal person who seemed a bit disinterested in talking about himself. Then the subject changed, however, when the topic became animals. Johnson clearly adores all animals, loves to care for them and study them, and wants to make their lives the best they can be.

Every single person in this County – from Craig Doyal to James Noack to all of the plebeians who care about animals – need to give Johnson the breathing room to succeed and lead the Animal Shelter with the love he so clearly has shown for the Shelter’s “guests.”

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