Maui Humane Society Chief Executive Officer Jocelyn Bouchard has announced her resignation, effective the end of April, to take a job with the Hawaiian Humane Society on Oahu, the Maui Humane Society Board of Directors confirmed Friday.
In a Facebook post, Bouchard said that "after much consideration and soul searching" she decided to accept the position on Oahu, where she will face new challenges and learn new skills and still be able to do what she loves - the advocacy and protection of animals.
"It has been my honor and privilege to work at the Maui Humane Society for 20 years, serving as CEO for this amazing organization for over 10 years now. I credit the success and growth of MHS to all the people involved with this organization - board, staff, volunteers, donors, adopters," Bouchard wrote in her post.
A Maui Humane Society official said that Bouchard's last day will be April 30. Bouchard was on Oahu on Friday and could not be reached for comment.
"We were surprised to receive Jocelyn's resignation, but we understand that she has taken a position with the Hawaiian Humane Society that offers her more responsibility and potential for career growth," the Maui Humane Society Board said Friday in an email. "Jocelyn has been a steadfast leader for the Maui Humane Society these past 10 years, and our agency has seen tremendous growth under her guidance. She is highly qualified and respected in the animal welfare industry on a national level, and we were fortunate to have her at the helm of MHS for this long.
"We will miss her. Maui's loss is Oahu's gain."
For more than a decade, Bouchard has been at the helm of the nonprofit organization that runs Maui County's only animal shelter with an operating budget of more than $2 million. According to its Internal Revenue Service 990 form, in fiscal year July 1, 2011, to June 30, 2012, the organization had net assets or fund balances of $2.2 million.
In calendar year 2011, the humane society, which organized in 1952 and incorporated in 1962, had 60 employees and 82 volunteers.
In her two decades with the humane society, Bouchard has served as a volunteer, veterinarian technician, education coordinator, volunteer coordinator, assistant manager, director of development and certified dog obedience trainer.
She took the helm of the troubled humane society in 2003. In 2007, her fourth year as head of the organization, she was named "Maui's Outstanding Executive Director of a Non-Profit Organization."
Anthony Levoy III, then president of the humane society board, said that Bouchard took the humane society from an organization in debt, laying off employees and cutting service hours to one that had doubled its income, increased staff and become "a full seven-day-a-week operating success" in two years.
Aimee Anderson, who at the time was the agency's director of animal control, nominated Bouchard and lauded her work. She said Bouchard had made it a "priority to create a level of excellence and professionalism in our service to the community and to the animals in our care while maintaining fiscal responsibility and accountability."
Bouchard's relationship with Anderson would sour. In 2008, Bouchard took criticism from the public after the popular Anderson left the agency. Neither Anderson nor Bouchard commented publicly about the split.
In recent years, Bouchard has wrestled with the county over funding levels. The humane society has a county contract that includes running the animal shelter and providing law enforcement involving animal issues.
The agency has seen a decline in funding over the last several years and has sought increases. In the last budget cycle, Mayor Alan Arakawa's administration had requested about $1.5 million for the humane society, the county administration said.
In the end, the Maui County Council whittled the amount down to $1.3 million for fiscal 2014 - the same amount as fiscal 2013.
Bouchard has said that the decline in county funding has forced the agency to use its private donations as well as funds from investments to make up the difference.
No announcement has been made about how a replacement for Bouchard will be chosen or when that will be.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.