The Pike County Humane Society will have a completely new board of directors after a tumultuous year of court orders, sexual assault allegations, director turnover, and raucous membership meetings.
Humane society members on Nov. 23 elected the following new directors:
● Nicole Borrico, Sheir Haydu, and Stacy O’Connell will serve three-year terms.
● Kathleen Moran and Lisa Schotsch will serve two-year terms.
● Emma Schotsch will serve one year to complete the term of Janet Heim.
● A special ballot question asked if Janet Heim should be retained or removed from the board. The membership voted to remove her.
None of the other incumbents except for Barbara Lippincott — including president John Somers, vice president Mary Cervati, treasurer Kim Alexander, and Carol Sprout — ran for re-election. Lippincott lost her bid.
Barry Heim, Janet Heim’s estranged husband, resigned this year as executive director, a position he held for many years.
A humane society employee has accused Barry Heim of sexual assaulting her and obtained a court order of protection against him. Barry Heim has consistently denied all wrongdoing.
The humane society’s pro bono attorney, Eric Hamill, invited the new board to meet in his office in the near future.
The election was held a week after a short-term court agreement was reached between the humane society and two members who brought suit against it, Janet Heim and Barbara Lippincott. The Nov. 16 agreement put the new executive director, Christine Cahill, in charge of overseeing employees and volunteers, leaving Heim without authority or status.
The agreement also stipulated there would be “no campaigning within 15 feet from the door of the site of the election through the day of the election.”
Nevertheless, several people handed the Courier various pieces of campaign literature they said was being handed out right inside St. Patrick’s parish hall, where the election was being held.
The election was monitored by George Martin, representing Janet Heim and Barbara Lippincott; Grace Cadigan, representing the humane society; and Nickolas J. McIntyre, a neutral overseer.
Nearly 80 people filled parish hall. Eighteen candidates sought five open seats. Before the vote, each candidate had an opportunity to address the membership.
McIntyre monitored the speeches, telling candidates as they started casting blame on others to keep their presentations to their own qualifications and skills.