Board receives legal opinions after receiving $14K bill, records requests

Published 8:22 pm Tuesday, November 28, 2017

While a transition of oversight at the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter Board officially took place months ago, current Shelter Board members feel that doesn’t still seem to be the case.
Board members enlisted the help from City of Elizabethton Attorney Roger Day and Carter County Attorney Josh Hardin Tuesday evening on different situations that have occurred since the board’s time as primary oversight for shelter activities.
An issue was brought to the attorney when board member Buford Peters told the audience that the board received a bill from Reedy & Sykes for over $14,800 in regards to architectural and other items needed for the dog runs at the shelter.
While the runs were part of the money donated from the Glenda Taylor DeLawder estate for renovations at the shelter, Peters indicated the donated funds do not cover the cost of architectural and engineering work.
Peters added the bill was addressed to himself and Board Chairman Mike Barnett, but that they were unaware of the bill due to the fact that the project was OK’ed by Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey’s Office – when the office was still serving as the oversight for the shelter.
The agreement for the project was by a “verbal agreement” according to the company, Peters said. According to Peters, no purchase orders were made for the bill and that there was no mention of additional costs, going as far back as the budget cycle for the county.
When asked about what steps to take, Hardin indicated that the payment would have to go back through the county and would have to be voted upon due to the Board not officially making the agreement with Reedy & Sykes.
Sonja Culler made the motion to have Hardin speak with Reedy & Sykes about the bill, which was then seconded by Kim Birchfield, and passed unanimously by the board.
Both attorneys field questions on a variety of other topics, including requests for personal records and medical documents and how the board can go about receiving equipment to help with the operation of the shelter. One item the board is looking to gain is a hard drive that is currently in storage, according to Barnett.
Board members added there have been continual issues from the previous oversight of the shelter and that the goal is to move forward positively, but issues, from bills to equipment, are causing problems.
The board is continuing to trudge ahead while an investigative audit from the Tennessee Comptroller’s Office still has not provided any results. The board recently implemented a new part-time position. With one full-time employee recently resigning, the shelter is currently seeking two part-time jobs to assist with shelter operations. No additional money is being used for the second part-time position, due to funds in place for the full-time spot.

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