RAYMOND — Tough times call for even more challenging decisions. For the first time, the Harbor Association of Volunteers for Animals (HAVA) in Raymond needs a paid worker after months of volunteers being overrun with shelter work.

HAVA President Dee Roberts announced in November that the shelter was beginning a lengthy search to hire a shelter manager. The decision came after the HAVA board realized that they were at a point where they either moved forward or needed to cut back.

“We [are at a point] where we had to go back to where we were and do just what we could do with the volunteers we have,” Roberts said. “[The other choice] was we stay where we are and continue to move forward but with a paid position.”

Roberts continued, “to be quite honest, I never thought I’d ever be talking about paying someone to work at HAVA. I never thought we would have ever gotten to that point, but we really have gotten to the point where we can’t ask the volunteers to do any more than they are already doing.”

Strung thin

The current volunteers have been working steadily over the past month after rescuing cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs from a hoarding situation in Raymond. Roberts admits that they all have been overworked, and by hiring a paid director, the burden on volunteers will decrease.

Roberts has issued a job description for the position, and the duties include but are not limited to planning and organizing to carry out HAVA goals, serve as a liaison between HAVA and other organizations and the public, establish and implement operational procedures, and oversee all volunteers.

“All of the coordinator positions will answer to the director and the director answers to the board,” Roberts said.

The position will come with a monthly salary of $1,500 per month, with a minimum of 25 hours per week. The worker will work under a contract with HAVA and will not be a direct employee but instead a 1099 worker. Roberts said it was the best choice and offers the employee more money per month. They will be responsible for their own taxes at the end of the year.

The position is expected to be published online on HAVA’s website and their Facebook page.

Restructuring

Due to hiring a director, several positions at the shelter have been changed, and members have moved positions. McKayla Smith, the former shelter manager, will now be the animal coordinator but will continue with most of her responsibilities, including monitoring vaccinations, vetting, and adoptions.

“We are bringing on a foster coordinator [too],” Roberts said. “I have talked to Rachel Snodgrass today, and she will be coming on as the coordinator. She will coordinate all the cats, probably not the dogs, but all the cats that are in foster care. She will be working directly with the fosters to make sure they have everything they need and basically the same thing that McKayla does at the shelter.”

According to Roberts, the most recent volunteer coordinator, Crystal Seay, recently stepped down from the position. So the shelter is also looking for a volunteer who can coordinate all the volunteers who work at the shelter. The role will likely be a maximum of 20 hours per week and less once the volunteer gets into a grove. It will be a daily requirement to be at the shelter, though.

“The position won’t be quite as labor-intensive as it was [because we are hiring a director], but it still does require someone to deal directly with the volunteers,” Roberts said. “It does require them to do the necessary training, and we do have someone [in-house] that can teach this person what is required [for the position].”

Thrift store thriving

The HAVA Thrift Store is still an increasing success story one year after its creation. It has reportedly made $19,000 thus far in 2020, with the Christmas season still ahead. Roberts admits she would have been happy if the shelter had only made $1,000 per month. It has far exceeded her expectations, which she credits to Co-Managers Kayla Turner and Dyana Lovato.

“We have already signed a lease for another [even though] I tried for five years, [but] they wouldn’t do it,” Roberts chuckled. “I was trying to lock us into someplace for a while. Actually, I believe the lease is guaranteed for a year and up to three years.”

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