Jan. 27, 2021 — The Oregon Coast Humane Society (OCHS) continues to have difficulty keeping the role of executive director filled, with the organization’s latest hire for that position, Charles Brown, resigned unexpectedly on Jan. 18.
Brown is the second executive director to resign from OCHS in the past 12 months. These resignations have added to a rocky tenure at the humane society that began three years ago amid accusations of illegal board appointments by former volunteers and board members.
In a very brief statement to the Siuslaw News, OCHS Board President Shauna Robbers said, “We learned of Charles Brown’s resignation by email on Jan. 18. We were surprised, confused and disappointed by his sudden and unexpected decision.”
OCHS was forced to completely reconstitute its procedures for selecting board members after a 2017 Oregon Department of Justice inquiry into management practices within the nonprofit.
The ODJ made a number of recommendations to address failings within the selection process and other ways to better manage the shelter, which had recently received significant financial contributions.
One of the most important suggestions was the hiring of a permanent executive director and a full-time shelter manager. Both positions were filled, with Marina Lewis taking over as shelter manager in August 2018, but resigning four months later in December. Mark Curran was then hired as executive director in January 2019, but resigned less than a year later in December.
The position of shelter manager was left vacant and a second nation-wide search for an executive director was initiated, resulting in the hiring of Brown last May.
Curran and some other board members were vocal in their criticism of the actions of the board at the time.
Curran commented on the latest resignation by Brown in an email to the Siuslaw News.
“I haven’t met Charles but, in my opinion, his resumé is pretty strong and he’s done some good things in his few months with OCHS. I’m sure Shauna [Robbers] will put this down as ‘business as usual,’ but for an organization to have two qualified executive directors resign in the space of 12 months should raise alarm bells. As a Lifetime Member of OCHS, the board’s actions are deeply worrying to me,” Curran said.
Siuslaw News received an email from Brown’s teenaged daughter, Madi, who shared her disappointment with the situation at OCHs and the damage she claims was done to her father.
“I got to help him hand out pet food to homeless people, make cat boxes for feral cats, and even got to see him put himself in danger to rescue a kitten,” she wrote. “But I also got to see him get maligned, lied to and lied about. I got to see pieces of my dad torn out, I got to hear my dad telling me that ‘the truth wins out, and if you work with passion for good you can never go wrong.’ We will be packing up soon and leaving Florence, but I will never forget the lesson I learned here — unfortunately not the lesson my Dad was trying teach me.”
Siuslaw News has attempted to contact Charles Brown for a statement regarding his resignation but, as of press time Tuesday, has not received a response.
Robbers has also not responded to a request for additional information regarding Brown’s resignation, or the concerns raised by Curran and Brown’s daughter.