Mayor responds to statements made at Animal Shelter Board meeting

Published 4:31 pm Friday, December 1, 2017

Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey responded to remarks made at the Animal Shelter Board meeting in regards to a bill totalling $14,868 from Reedy & Sykes for architectural designs for dog runs at the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library.
While the dog runs construction is being covered by the estate of Glenda Taylor DeLawder, board member Buford Peters told attendees that a bill was addressed to himself and Mike Barnett, adding they were unaware they would have to make a purchase and that no purchase orders were made for the architectural design.
“When this was brought to my attention, I was extremely upset,” Humphrey said in an interview with the Elizabethton Star Friday. “It was beyond my reasonable comprehension on why any elected official would go to that level to misinform and ignite the public and the board.”
During the meeting, it was indication that the board would possibly have to pay the costs and that the funds were not mentioned during meetings with the mayor.
According to Humphrey, the costs for the designs are covered by the “Snoopy fund,” which has $15,696.86.
“I have spoken with County Attorney (Josh Hardin) and he likewise sees that it isn’t a problem,” Humphrey said. “He was led to believe there was no money available. He mentioned it’s just a matter of having it brought before budget.
“I had to let Mr. Peters sign the invoice because if I authorized the agreement, someone would have called wolf. I am just so glad the estate has been so great to work with. There’s nothing that will come from the general fund,” Humphrey added.
Humphrey stated that commission and officials with the board have been kept up to date with different designs, providing emails from 2016 until now, showing coordination.
“Mr. Peters has been informed on every step of this process,” Humphrey said. “Since I resigned from my position in June, Mr. Peters and I have met with Reedy & Sykes, members of the estate, met with Shelter Director Shannon Posada and reviewed the plan extensively. The last meeting I had with the group, before I was relieved of the upkeep and maintenance of the building, all parties were in agreement for the ultimate design (for the shelter). Mr. Joey White with Reedy & Sykes has been working, as his schedule allows, to finalize those.”
Humphrey added that prior to him being relieved as oversight of buildings and grounds for the facility, that final changes with Reedy & Sykes were approved by all parties and that no concerns were raised. He added the estate was in favor of the renovation because the change they wanted made was to accommodate the cats a little farther, just adjacent to the cat room and perimeter foundation, if money was available, to enclose the area. Humphrey added there is still approximately $230,000 available from the estate to be used for different improvements for the shelter.
“At no point and time has anything been done improper, that there hasn’t been absolute transparency or did any of the 24 commissioners not be informed as to the stages. It’s totally unfortunate that we’re having the discussion today,” Humphrey said.
The mayor added that Joey White and Reedy & Sykes have also been instrumental in work at the facility.
“I want the public to know that Reedy & Sykes is an excellent firm,” he said. “They’ve never done anything except provided prompt, professional service. I don’t want them cast in a negative light or the Mayor in a negative light. I think this is all being done for political reasons because we’re right in the heart of a campaign season.”

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