People Power: Staying Centered in San Jose
Jon Cicirelli keeps on course by focusing on animals, not egos
For Jon Cicirelli, deputy director of the City of San Jose Animal Care & Services department, dealing with the thousands of animals his agency takes in is the easy part of the job.
The hard part—or maybe it would be more politically savvy to say the most challenging part—of his duties is working with the two-legged creatures who cross his path.
“[It’s] managing personalities and people—everybody’s different,” says Cicirelli, whose days bring a constant stream of dealings with employees, animal advocates, animal rescuers, elected officials, and the public. “Our business is a very emotional business, and there tends to be a lot of excitement around our issues. … Staying calm and not getting personal about it is tough.”
Cicirelli isn’t just keeping his cool. He’s been busy reaching out—forming partnerships with animal rescue groups; building a coalition of public and private shelters in Santa Clara County to reduce euthanasia; serving on the legislative committee of the California Animal Control Directors Association; working on companion animal issues with the State Humane Association of California, the California Veterinary Medical Association, The Humane Society of the United States, and the ASPCA; and keeping tabs on bills at the state level that could affect animal control.