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On August 25, 2008, I was hired as a kennel attendant at the Southampton Town Animal Shelter. I was very excited and happy. For me, it was my dream job. I had done some volunteer work at the shelter and knew it was the place I wanted to be. I am a certified vet assistant and have previous experience working at a shelter and a kennel.

In September, two more kennel attendants were hired. Neither candidate had previous experience working in this field, but both are related to Southampton Town employees.

Sometime in October, the staff was called in for a meeting. The budget was discussed. We were assured by Supervisor Christine Russell that our jobs were safe for the year 2009.

On that basis, I decided to move closer to work. So I uprooted myself and moved from Shelter Island to Flanders. Being a volunteer firefighter, I also transferred to Flanders Fire Department. Four days after my move, November 21, 2008, I was informed by the supervisor that I was terminated.

Naturally, I strongly disagree with this decision. I was told when I was hired, “Last hired, first fired.” I feel it was either based on something personal or, worse, nepotism. The decision certainly was not based on the performance of my duties or my attendance, both of which were perfect. It also seems that my experience and desire to work at the shelter counted for nothing.

Today, I went to see Janeen Cevasco in Human Resources at Town Hall. I still not have received a satisfactory answer to why I was terminated. My next step is to go through legal channels.

Working as a kennel attendant meant a great deal to me. I will not go away quietly.

IRENE R. ALLENFlanders

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