Something has been nagging at me....the refusal by the Toronto Humane Society board of directors to accept responsibility, the allegations of intimidation, bullying and sexual harassment made against directors, executives and managers, the lack of transparency, the board's "best defense is a good offense" behaviour....and then it hit me.
This is abuse.
I've seen friends in abusive relationships. The behaviour of the abusers was the same as the behaviour of the board of THS.
The board of directors of Toronto Humane is abusing the public, its donors, its employees and its volunteers.
There's something called "tone from the top". The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners has a good definition; "Tone at the top refers to the ethical atmosphere that is created in the workplace by the organization's leadership."
The Global Compliance website states, "An organization's governing body must walk the walk. Beginning from those rules and good practices set forth in the Code of Conduct, it is imperative that executives and management clearly display and demonstrate those attitudes and behaviors. Without management "buy-in," other employees will not take compliance and ethics related policies seriously."
CBS has a very interesting article on tone at the top and corporate governance on its BNet site which seems to have been first published in LawNow, authored by Julie Walsh. It highlights the need for ethical leadership, for "...the senior management team and board of directors to exhibit the values embodied in the code, effectively establishing the tone at the top." There is a very telling statement in this article: "Adopting a code is an important step in creating a corporate culture that strives to meet and operate in accordance with high standards of integrity and transparency."
What is the THS code of conduct, what are its ethics? Search the website and you will not find its code of conduct posted; does THS have one?
If there is no code of conduct, what values do the board of directors and senior management exhibit to the staff of THS and to the public? What is the tone from the top? That evasion and abuse are acceptable?
Toronto Humane Society is an organization with $9M in revenue and charged with the care of defenseless animals.
How can Toronto Humane Society possibly fulfill its mandate and be worthy of the public's trust if there is no ethical structure in place?
Oh, ya, Merry freakin' Christmas. One Bark At A Time has a slightly livelier view of this day.