Animal welfare issue is dog-eat-dog
An offer from Alleghany Recreational Center to continue to house animals during July, even if the center does not get the new animal shelter contract, met with some hesitation from county commissioners last Tuesday evening.
And once the commission did decide to go with the proposal, ARC owners John Fitzgerald and J. P. Duncan withdrew their proposal.
The issue heated an already over-warm commission office when Snowshoe-area resident Donelle Oxley objected to the commission's procedure in advertising the animal shelter contract. Oxley said that, by default, ARC would win the animal shelter contract because the legal advertisement spelled out certain specifications that only ARC could fulfill.
"Other people are being eliminated by default," Oxley said.
In particular, Oxley said that other shelters could not be ready for inspection by June 30, the final day of the fiscal year.
Oxley said it was also important to note that ARC has "no effective way to advertise animals for adoption, increasing the likelihood of animals being turned away or put down."
PetFinder, which has been used frequently by the Pocahontas County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, works only with non-profit groups and would not form a partnership with ARC, according to PCSPCA treasurer Jay Miller. Miller also said it was his understanding that Fitzgerald and Duncan did not want to work with either the PCSPCA or the Pocahontas County Humane Society.
County commission president David Fleming said that no entity or person had an upper hand in winning the bid. Fleming also pointed out that the inspection could be delayed.
When Fleming made a motion to accept ARC's proposal to house the animals for another month, but to accept it on a week-to-week basis, Fitzgerald rose from his chair and withdrew the offer.
"Let Ms. Oxley take care of the animals," he said as he left the room.
"You see what you're dealing with?" Oxley asked the commission.
Commissioners delayed the decision until the following Tuesday.
9-1-1 director position
Commissioners also perused the duties of the 9-1-1 director in anticipation of an opening in that position come October 1.
Current 9-1-1 director Bill McLaughlin has said he plans to retire at that time.
Commissioners had little discussion on any aspect of the job-save one.
9-1-1 Mapping and Addressing, first discussed in 2004 and still not completed, drew comment from Commissioner Martin Saffer.
"I would like if we hire a new director to get this done and stop spending money on this," Saffer said.
Is second magistrate's office necessary?
Commissioners also delayed a decision on the Durbin Magistrate's Office until they can seek information from other counties about whether they have second magistrate's offices.
Saffer, who is also Durbin's municipal attorney, said he would like to see more "civic activity going on in Durbin," referring to the abysmally low voter turnout. Only 18 of 150 registered voters cast ballots at the June 14 election, placing Durbin in danger of losing its charter if any of the town's residents petition the county commission to make the town defunct and the commission agrees.
Saffer also said he wanted to hear from magistrates as to how much judicial business is conducted there.
An earlier commission effort to move the office from downtown Durbin to East Fork Industrial Park met with opposition from Durbin denizens.
ORU is ready to roll
Commissioners unanimously approved county coordinator Jay Miller's efforts with the One Room University in finding an assistant site supervisor and custodial services.
Commissioners hired Dottie Shamblin for the assistant site supervisor job for 32 hours a week.
Shamblin was a non-traditional student and graduated from Bluefield State College.
Miller suggested hiring the same custodial crew as City National Bank for nine hours a month.
ORU is capable of accommodating up to 20 students for IVN classes this fall.
In other business, commissioners:
ﾕheard from Walter Lockhart, of the American Red Cross, about his organization's capabilities in dealing with household fires.
ﾕapproved various in-house budget revisions and year-end expenditures.