Clark shelter cuts walk-in adoptions

Published 8:57 am Friday, April 27, 2018

A lack of staff at the Clark County Animal Shelter forced its director to end walk-in adoptions Thursday, a day after the Clark County Fiscal Court voted down a proposal to increase starting salaries.

Shelter Director Adreanna Wills announced the change in an email to Clark Judge-Executive Henry Branham Thursday.

Wills said the shelter has been functioning with only herself, one full-time employee and one part-time employee since October. A full staff would be five full-time and one part-time employee, she said.

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There will be a special fiscal court meeting at 8 a.m. Monday for discussion and possible action about the shelter and associated pay grades within the county pay plan.

“My staff is exhausted,” Wills wrote. “It is affecting the performance and the safety of my staff. In order to maintain the standards that we strive for and to be fair and attempt to retain the only full-time employee I have, I am announcing that we will close the adoption center at the animal shelter until additional staff can be hired and trained to assist in the daily workload.”

Wills said people can still schedule adoption visits, and the shelter will continue to accept animals and let people claim lost pets during regular hours.

On Wednesday, Wills and animal shelter committee member John Ballard asked the Clark County Fiscal Court to increase the starting salaries for the animal control officer $2.02 an hour to $14.54, assistant director from $13,19 an hour to $15.26, kennel attendant II from $9.87 to $10.33; and kennel attendant I from $9.37 to $9.87.

The fiscal court voted 4-2 against the measure with Judge-Executive Henry Branham and Magistrate Sheila McCord voting in favor of the increases. Magistrate Greg Elkins was not present for Wednesday’s meeting.

Wills said the measure was approved 3-2 by the animal shelter committee. Wills said the magistrates on the committee, Joe Graham and Robert Blanton, suggested a one-grade increase rather than the proposed two-grade increase, as the fiscal court might be more amenable to the lower amount.

“I need a body,” Wills said during Wednesday’s fiscal court meeting. “I need a person that’s qualified, that can write a complete sentence … that’s a representative for the county in public and not making stupid decisions. It’s hard to find someone for $12.50 an hour. It’s hard to find someone for $15 an hour.”

Magistrate Daniel Konstantopoulos said he supported the increases for the assistant director and animal control positions because they were vacant. He voted no because the proposal included increases for other positions

Magistrate Joe Graham, who is on the animal shelter committee, voted against the increases.

“I will oppose it basically because we just approved the pay plan less than 60 days ago,” he said. “I think we need to live with it for a while.”

“Our taxpayers expect services and we can’t provide those services without employees,” McCord said. “When we finished (the county pay plan), we knew we would have some tweaks and said department heads could bring requests to us and we’d see what we could do. I think we need to work harder to keep our employees.”

The court previously voted down a request from Clark County Fire Chief Ernie Barnes to amend the salaries for the fire marshal/safety officer position, which carries the rank of major, and the three battalion chiefs to add separation. Barnes said it was possible currently that the fire marshal could make more than a battalion chief.

About Whitney Leggett

Whitney Leggett is managing editor of The Winchester Sun and Winchester Living magazine. To contact her, email or call 859-759-0049.

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