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Dismissal of Zoo Director

June 17, 1986

The article reporting the dismissal of Thomas said that one of the reasons for his discharge was that he was "insubordinate." Rather than being construed as a condemnation of Thomas, the charge should be seen as a recommendation.

There are times when insubordination should be respected. It may mean that someone dares to do his job in accordance with inner dictates of what he thinks is right and proper rather than with the often superfluous codes of organizational procedure.

Such people are often intelligent and imaginative, the clarity of their inner direction giving them the strength and willingness to take risks, shoulder responsibilities, and fight for what they believe. They are usually more concerned with doing the best they can to fulfill their responsibilities as they see them than with political game-playing. Instead of letting such people fall prey to the bigotry of bureaucratic hierarchies, we should protect, encourage and cherish them.

Thomas' talents have brought international recognition to the zoo and the City of Los Angeles. Through his efforts, the Los Angeles Zoo is making significant contributions to the preservation and propagation of endangered animal species and to the understanding of the natural world of which we are a part. It is appalling that this appears to be of less importance to the City of Los Angeles than strict adherence to a bureaucratic pecking order.

SHARON ELAINE THOMPSON

North Hollywood

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