County hires shelter rescue coordinator

Posted August 23, 2017 at 9:33 am

For the fourth time in less than a full year, Clinton County will have a new animal shelter rescue coordinator. However, this time the position will be full-time to help with the day-to-day operations and needed work it takes to get animals adopted out.

Clinton Fiscal Court, at its monthly meeting last Thursday, August 17 with four of six members present, voted to hire Jamie Scott-Cross, 40 hours per week, starting out at $8.50 to increase to $9 per hour after the 90 day trial period for county employees.

In the past, the position, although requiring many hours of work, had been a part-time position without benefits.

Janet Brummett, who initially acted as rescue coordinator at the shelter and since has stepped down, noted the dire need for a coordinator and help at the shelter, noting that no rescues had been made in almost 30 days since the latest coordinator was terminated from the position. The reason for that termination was not given.

While addressing the court, Brummett noted the shelter had come a long way in the past year but still has “a long way to go.” She said that out of county and state rescue agencies require a lot of paperwork, thus a lot of time spent by the coordinator and also questioned why the City of Albany had not been asked to help with the expenses at the shelter.

Deputy Judge Joy Armstrong, who is also a member of the FURever Spay and Neuter clinic program and advocate of animal adoptions and rescues, said she wanted to go on record noting the shelter has come too far and “we do not want to go backward.”

Armsrong also acknowledged that neither Animal Control Officer James Stonecipher nor his assistant at the shelter, Seth Stonecipher, have any direct knowledge or experience in animal rescue.

Sixth District Magistrate Mickey Riddle also questioned why overtime was being paid to the animal control officer positions and noted that with the absence of animals from Wayne County since May, there should be less of an animal population at the shelter.

Sheriff Jim Guffey also told the court there had been times on some weekends where his office had received calls about vicious dogs but were unable reach anyone from the shelter, and later stated that he “would never” put down an animal in front of a child, noting it would affect them the rest of their lives.

Arica Collins, also a member of the FURever Friends organization, said that employees of the shelter should be held accountable for what they are doing.

Judge Richard Armstrong, although saying time sheets turned in by the animal control employees verified their work, did agree later with magistrates that overtime should be cut out and scheduling made to rotate so no overtime would be required.

The judge said that everyone was in agreement there was a need for animals at the shelter being rescued and adopted out and he also said he would contact the mayor the next day to see what, if anything, the city could contribute to help out.

He also added that although Wayne County is no longer a part of the shelter, Cumberland County has been bringing in more animals to the facility in recent months.

Although Brummett pushed for a rescue coordinator and a part-time person to assist, court members balked at that idea, only being in favor of making the position full time with one employee only and eliminating overtime for the animal control officers.

Third District Magistrate Terry Buster said at one point, “someone down there (shelter) is not doing their job” as far as rescue, and Joy Armstrong noted that Seth (Stonecipher) had indicated that (rescue) was not in his job description.

Judge Armstrong noted, “the rescue part of the job is totally different from the shelter operations,” noting this was still something (animal rescue) that the county just got into about a year ago, but had to carry through with.

Joy Armstrong noted the shelter had to be open at least 25 hours a week and available to the public for adoptions. She indicated she would draw up job descriptions and schedules, not only for the new rescue coordinator, but the animal control officer and assistant, to go by.

Following the lengthy discussion, First District Magistrate Johnny Russell made the motion to hire Scott-Cross to replace the former coordinator at $8.50 per hour and $9 after 90 days, which passed by unanimous vote.

The court also dealt with other issues, including setting tax rates, and a separate article on the court session can be found on page 1.