Abilene Animal Services Director out, resigns from $95,000/year job

Mirenda Walden (City of Abilene)

Abilene Animal Services Director Mirenda Walden is out after resigning from her $95,000 a year job.

The city said it received a complaint regarding "the supervision and management of animal services personnel."

After the city investigated, Walden submitted her letter of resignation on Nov. 27.

The resignation took effect Dec. 3.

City Manager Robert Hanna told KTXS that it was a single complaint by a city employee. But he would not go into specifics about that complaint.

Walden was removed from the website on Tuesday morning.

She hasn't been at work since the first week of November.

Employees at Abilene Animal Services said they had no idea why.

On Monday, the city confirmed she was on paid leave.

Hanna would not say whether they gave Walden a severance package even though it would be funded by tax payer dollars.

KTXS had been asking the city for weeks why Walden hasn't been at work and if she was under investigation for any wrongdoing.

Until today, they never answered our questions, instead saying, "Mirenda Walden is an employee of the city of Abilene."

The city said it will soon begin a nationwide search for Walden's replacement.

“It is important that we take the time to find the right person to serve in this important position, and it is equally important that we keep the public’s business moving forward," said Hanna.

Until a replacement is found, the city said Animal Services is being administered by the two current supervisors, with managerial oversight by Deputy City Manager Mindy Patterson.

Walden was initially hired by the City of Abilene on November 30, 2015 as the interim director of Community Services.

On September 18, 2016, she was named Director of Animal Services, a position that did not previously exist.

The job was posted as an Animal Services Manager in July 2016 after the city parted ways with Aaron Vannoy after eight years.

Vannoy -- who is currently the Planning and Development Administrator for the CIty of San Angelo -- said he started out at $45,000. He was making $62,000 when he left the city.

Last Tuesday, Abilene Zoo Director Bill Gersonde resigned amidst an investigation into harassment complaints.

Gersonde -- who was making $90,000/year -- had also missed weeks of work.

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