By DEREK MOORE
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Sonoma County’s former Animal Care and Control director confirmed Monday that she will apply to get her old job back, nearly six months after her controversial firing galvanized her supporters and led to the agency she once ran being re-organized.
“I want to continue to be an effective administrator in a place where those abilities and skills can make a difference. I believe that place is Sonoma County,” Amy Cooper said.
Agricultural Commissioner Cathy Neville fired Cooper on July 12, two days before Cooper’s yearlong probationary status was to expire.
Neville’s action, which she has never publicly explained, sparked a public outcry and calls for Cooper to be re-instated.
A majority of county supervisors voted in September to transfer the animal care division to the Health Services Department, a move that dramatically reduced the Ag Commissioner’s budget and personnel.
Cooper and her attorney sought mediation with the county to try to get her old job back. But those talks broke down when county officials alerted Cooper that she would have to apply for the job as if she had never had it.
Cooper on Monday said she intends to formally submit her application by Sunday’s deadline. “I’ve completed it but I haven’t hit send yet,” she said.
Dr. Mary Maddux-Gonzalez, the county’s public health officer, said the recruitment for a new animal care director involves a “very structured process” and that she is hoping “to get some strong candidates for the position.”
Cooper said she believes she can lead animal control again despite the controversy that engulfed her and the department after she was let go.
“The last six months have been difficult and obviously, after watching the machinations with the county, I’m going into this cautiously and with my eyes wide open,” she said.
Cooper said she has applied for other job openings but she declined to say where.
She also studied for and passed a test to become a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator, something she hopes will give her an advantage over other applicants for the Sonoma County vacancy.