County fires first veterinarian after three weeks

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, August 31, 2016

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — After just three weeks on the job, Rowan county has fired its first-ever veterinarian.

Dr. Robert Krawczyk, who started on Aug. 1, was fired last week for unsatisfactory job performance and unacceptable personal conduct, according to a termination letter. Krawczyk had previously worked as a veterinarian at Petsmart; Banfield Pet Hospital, which operates a number of clinics inside Petsmart stores; and other small animal hospitals.

Krawczyk’s firing occurred during an initial probationary period that followed his hiring. As a result, he doesn’t have the ability to appeal his dismissal, according to a termination letter obtained by the Salisbury Post.

The letter lists a number of issues that led to the veterinarian’s firing, including: “improper comments to staff and visitors that resulted in a written citizen complaint, failure to properly document medications for important shelter records through disorganization of work, failure to complete an assigned daily task just two weeks after it had been assigned” and “lack of attention to detail in applying medical treatments and evaluations.”

On the termination letter, his firing is listed as the same day Rowan County failed an annual state inspection. When asked whether a correlation exists between the failed tests and the firing, County Manager Aaron Church initially said it’s not fair to pin the failed state inspection on Krawczyk. Church later corrected his statement, saying it wasn’t accurate.

“It’s not fair to pin it on just one person,” Church said about the failed state inspection.

He said some of the items noted in the state’s inspection were tasks a veterinarian might perform. Others weren’t.

County Commissioner Craig Pierce commented on the veterinarian’s dismissal when asked about the failed state inspection.

“He’s a great guy,” Pierce said. “He just didn’t fit into what we expected him to do.”

The county planned to offer in-house spay and neuter services to shelter animals. Pierce said spay and neuter services “didn’t seem to be something that was a priority for him.”

When Krawczyk was hired, Church said the county was aware of a 2005 controversy at a spay and neuter clinic but it had “no bearing or relevance” to Krawczyk’s experience as a veterinarian. The controversy involved an investigation by the North Carolina Veterinary Medical Board for a potentially unauthorized connection between the spay an neuter clinic and Guilford County Humane Society.

After an investigation, the veterinary board issued a “letter of caution” but didn’t find probable cause that a violation occurred.

Krawczyk was hired in July for a $75,000-per-year salary.

Rowan County’s veterinarian position at the shelter was added as part of a March restructuring by County Manager Aaron Church.

The county has already posted a job opening on its website for a veterinarian. The salary is listed as $62,000 to $99,200.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.