Charleston County Councilman Summey calls for Fabri to resign from planning commission
The animal rescue worker who wrote an email that offended a family surrendering their dog has been asked to resign her position on the Charleston County Planning Commission.
Elliott Summey, vice chairman of County Council, sent a letter Tuesday to members of council and the commission calling for Amy Fabri to step down from her appointed post because of “inflammatory comments” she made about the Charleston Animal Society.
“My response to his letter was that I respectfully refuse his suggestion that I resign,” Fabri said Wednesday.
Fabri could be forced off the commission if council chooses to remove her.
The South Carolina Code of Laws says “the governing authority or authorities creating the commission may remove any member of the commission for cause,” according to county spokeswoman Tracey Amick.
Summey, who is on the society’s board, said he believes Fabri’s comments were inappropriate.
“Here’s my thing,” he said. “She’s an appointed planning commissioner, therefore she’s a county official, and because of that she has to understand that she has to conduct herself, in my opinion, in a different fashion.”
Fabri volunteers with Lowcountry Lab Rescue, and when a West Ashley family emailed her about surrendering their dog, she responded with an email that said, in part, “The sad fact is that your dog will probably be euthanized and in the dumpster before you are out of the parking lot. Owner surrenders are typically euthanized right away at the shelter.”
Joe Elmore, chief executive officer of the shelter, said at the time that that is incorrect. He said the shelter evaluates each animal on its on merits, and only about one-third of the 1,100 animals brought there annually are euthanized, and they are cremated and not thrown into trash bins.
Summey feels Fabri’s comments are damaging to the shelter’s reputation, he said.
“The County provides significant funding to the CAS and your comments are contrary to the stated goals and objectives of the CAS, and frankly, are harmful to the tax-paying citizens of Charleston,” he wrote in the letter.
Fabri said her response “as a volunteer with Lowcountry Lab Rescue had absolutely nothing to do with Charleston County or Charleston County Planning Commission.”
A James Island resident, she has been an advocate for responsible growth and ran against Joe Qualey as a Democrat for County Council District 9 in 2010. Qualey later appointed her to the Planning Commission.
Fabri said she called Qualey when she received the letter.
“He said that when he appointed me he told me he would not interfere with my serving on Charleston County Planning Commission and he wasn’t going to start now,” she said.
Several members of the commission have come out in support of Fabri.
“We cannot afford to waste the talent of people who are passionate about their community service,” said member Charlie Smith.
County Councilwoman Colleen Condon called Summey’s letter ridiculous and said it was meant to embarrass Fabri, which Summey denied.
“The thought that he would ask her to step aside in light of her speaking about her passion is mind-boggling to me,” she said.
Reach Brenda Rindge at 937-5713 or www.facebook.com/brindge.