Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Animal Care Chief Brings Drive, Skills; Scott Trebatoski's Experience in Lee County Will Benefit Duval

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Animal Care Chief Brings Drive, Skills; Scott Trebatoski's Experience in Lee County Will Benefit Duval

Article excerpt

Byline: TIA MITCHELL

The new chief of Jacksonville's Animal Care and Control division starts work today with a mission to increase efficiency and strengthen ties with animal-related community organizations.

Scott Trebatoski, the former director of Lee County Animal Services, is moving to Jacksonville with his two dogs in tow. He said he was attracted to the city because of the potential to lead what could be known one day as the most progressive animal services department in the nation.

Ebenezer Gujjarlapudi, who oversees the division as director of the city's Environment and Compliance department, said Trebatoski was chosen from a list of 300 applicants.

"Among all the applicants, he was the one that actually ran a shelter for seven years," Gujjarlapudi said.

Trebatoski also served on the Florida Animal Control Association's board of directors since 2004, including one year as president. And he literally wrote the manual for certifying the state's animal control workers.

Gujjarlapudi has been looking for a new Animal Care and Control chief since July 2007, when he dismissed Dave Flagler over concerns about his management style. About a year prior, Gujjarlapudi had been promoted to the position of division supervisor and said it eventually became clear that he and Flagler didn't see eye to eye.

An interim division chief was appointed, and Gujjarlapudi began working with a team of animal activists from across the community to address the agency's issues, including low morale, high staff turnover and shelter overcrowding.

Only a few months later, Trebatoski was put in the same position as Flagler by his boss in Lee County.

He said he had been assigned a new supervisor, who had a different management philosophy. Though Trebatoski had also worked as the county's human resources manager and had been considered a model employee, he was ousted in November 2007.

Trebatoski may be a better fit in Jacksonville, where Gujjarlapudi said he was looking for a manager who embraces the same progressiveness that Trebatoski holds dear.

"We thought he would work well today with some of the things that are happening with Animal Care and Control," Gujjarlapudi said. …

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