Shortly after Ray Sim became director of Broward County's Animal Care and Regulation Department late last year, county commissioners began floating the P-word: privatize. It was either that or find a way to make a slew of costly reforms during a budget year in which every agency would be expected to make drastic cuts. (BSO swallowed that pill yesterday.)
Mission impossible or job insecurity. Neither of those options seemed appealing to Sim. And in January, he bolted. That's the same month that the Houston Press published this lengthy indictment of that city's Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care under the unambiguous headline, "BARC sucks." And it was several months after the heart-wrenching episode that scandalized the department: the deaths of eight dogs left in the back of a BARC truck during the lunch hour of a 95-degree day.
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Earlier in this month, Sim resurfaced, becoming the new chief at BARC.
It's clear from the Press article that the heart of the problem is a city government intent on ignoring or covering up the agency's troubles. And if leaders had learned their lesson, then it's strange that they waited some two weeks to inform the local media of Sim's hiring. Which is why one might be skeptical that Sim can follow through on the claim he made this weekend, in his first interview with the Houston Chronicle, that he'll work more closely with an angry group of pet owners:
One of the things I will do is make our operations fairly transparent, so they know what we're doing.
Congratulations, Ray Sim. You may have found the one job in animal control that's harder than the one you had before.