Board of Commissioners Meeting

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Pickens County Board of Commissioners met Thursday, July 20, 2017, to review this month’s agenda.

At the beginning of the meeting the board recognized employee Casey L. Pickett. Pickett has worked for the county in the 911 department for ten years.

The finance report came next on the agenda. For the first six months of the year, the county has a limit of 50% of the budget to spend. Our total expenditures for this time period is at $11,600,457. Only 45.49% of our budget has been spent for the year so far.

The LMIG road schedule for 2018 reappeared on the agenda, the full list has not been posted yet, but roads such as Lumber Company, Hickory Ridge, and Grandview have been mentioned. The total cost for the project would be $455,292, and the state would be matching money from the amount the county puts forth. Board members tabled the issue in favor of further study.

Under new business this month, a request was presented for 4-H funding for a part time assistant. The UGA Extension Office told the board that if the Board of Commissioners (BOC) and Board of Education (BOE) would agree to fund 25% each for the assistant, then they would cover the other 50%. Members agreed to approve the funding as long as the BOE approves their part and should have a solid answer after their meeting.

Sheriff Craig spoke with board members to discuss a capital lease for new vehicles. This would be for 10 more vehicles fully equipped at the total cost of $450,000. BB&T had the lowest interest rate at 2.2% at a three year pay off. Members chose to discuss the vehicles further to find out what type of vehicles would be purchased and to look at all of their options. They plan to revisit the request at next month’s meeting.

The Commissioners did approve the Calhoun water agreement, which allows the county to continue to purchase and sell water with them. The pay is $1.62 per 1,000 gallons, the average water usage from Calhoun is 62% to 70%. The county purchases 360 to 410 gallons of water from them.

Before the meeting adjourned supporters from Protect Pickens Pets spoke to Commissioner Jones to share their comments and questions. To follow this story read “Protect Pickens Pets Confronts Board of Commissioners”.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

Protect Pickens’ Pets Protest

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JASPER, GA – Protect Pickens Pets and supporters met at 11:00 A.M. this morning in the Burger King parking lot to hold a peaceful protest against Board of Commissioners Chairman Rob Jones, the Pickens County Animal Shelter (PCAS) conditions, and the County’s dog breed ban. This event has been a work in progress for a few weeks,and has caught the attention of those in Pickens and surrounding counties.

Citizens are still reporting going in the shelter and viewing animals with algae in water bowls and animals with feces in their cage. The group is calling for a change and do not plan to stop until certain conditions are met, such as providing better care for the animals at the PCAS and lifting the dog breed ban.

The ban does not allow breeds such as pit bulls, german shepherds, dobermans, and other bully breeds to be adopted from the shelter in the county. Citizens say that if a dog of that breed is at the shelter they have to be transferred or risk being euthanized.

FYN spoke with Commissioner Jones about the ban who stated,

There is no ban, citizens are allowed to have any kind of animal and breed they want. We sometimes have aggressive animals that come through the shelter and they can be of any breed. If an animal is brought in that concerns the shelter or potential owners they go through testing for aggressive nature. If an animal is deemed aggressive then they will be able to be adopted through another shelter to find the right owner. I want to make sure other animals and people are safe. That is why we have the testing on animals who seem to be aggressive, to ensure the animal won’t hurt anyone. 

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

Protect Pickens Pets Confronts Board of Commissioners

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JASPER, GA – Protect Pickens Pets and supporters filled the room at this month’s commissioner meeting. The group made plans to bring their concerns and requests to the board about the conditions at the animal shelter coming together after the firing of former shelter employee Judy Moody.

Before the meeting adjourned Commissioner Jones made the announcement that anyone with questions or comments could speak one at a time. Hands went up in the air one by one to speak on the situation of the shelter and Moody.

Lisa Kelly commented first,

I am concerned the animals are not being took care of. There is 11% left on the budget that could go towards the shelter. Why is the money not being spent? Feces are in cages and there are empty bowls. When you question the staff they say they are overwhelmed and understaffed.

Linda Ross followed asking,

Who is in charge of hiring? Do they have a background? Sanitation procedures need to be in place. It’s great to have volunteers, but that’s not enough. We need a better staff. The shelter conditions are bad.

Lori Taylor told Jones,

There is a networking to running a shelter. We can’t leave things how we are. We need a company that could deal with the dogs that some fear to help them. Chihuahuas bite more than pitbulls! You’re out of your league with us people. We need to make a committee with rules and regulations.

The members of the board were silent throughout most of the comments and this bothered supporters who came to hear an answer.

Board member Becky Denny spoke to the crowd,

I have been to the shelter and been pleased with it. Legally we can’t speak about an employee. I would be happy to go to the shelter and look around.

Commenters mentioned Denny has been the only one to come to the shelter.

As comments and questions kept coming, Commissioner Jones adjourned the meeting. FYN spoke with Judy Moody after the meeting closed for a statement. Moody replied with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi,

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

Commissioner Jones also gave us a statement on how he felt the evening went,

I think it went really good and I believe some of the commenters have great ideas such as creating a board or committee for the shelter. I have had the shelter inspected by the Department of Agriculture and we received an A.

Protect Pickens Pets will be having a protest Monday, July 24 at 11:00 A.M. in the Burger King parking lot. They encourage all supporters to come out to the protest.

The group left this message on their page last night,

Sadly we attended the Pickens County Commissioners meeting last night to witness the painstaking process (sarcasm) of a new Pickens County Tax Assessor being selected. The commissioners discussed how this new candidate owned a Pickens County business with his father and the fact that a commissioner knew who he was. We learned that this new candidate just happened to be the son of the former Pickens County Tax Assessor who was stepping down from the position.
What was never discussed by the commissioners was this new candidate’s education level, experience, resume, his qualifications, or any other candidates that may have applied for this same position.
Now the person approved last night to be your new Pickens County Tax Assessor may very well be qualified. But this would be a simple roll of the dice as our fine commissioners certainly did not put forth any effort to guarantee this.
Is it too much to ask that a person appointed by our Pickens County Commissioners to decide how deep to reach into your pocket be competent to do the job?
How many other Pickens county officials are deciding the daily direction of the county and our lives with their only qualification being a Good Old Boy Certification of Approval?
Is it any wonder that the Pickens County Animal Shelter Directors have all been unqualified and completely inexperienced?
It’s time for a change!

FYN will follow this story as it progresses, or read “Animal Shelter Employee Fired” and “Animal Shelter Situation Escalates”.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

Animal Shelter Situation Escalates

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Former shelter employee Judy Moody and Protect Pickens Pets are making plans to be at this month’s commissioner meeting to confront Rob Jones. At the meeting, they say they will be bringing the following concerns and demands:

-You should have the right to choose your family pet, even if it is a pit bull, German shepherd, or Doberman.
-Pit bulls, German shepherds, and Dobermans should not be condemned to a Pickens County Animal Shelter cage or euthanization on a Commissioner’s whim.
-Demand a solid plan to keep euthanization numbers low, so the label “Kill Hill” is never again used for our shelter.
-Our shelter should be managed by a private, no kill agency and out from under Commissioner Jones’ radical control. The shelter should be managed for the good of the animals and Pickens County citizens, not Commissioner Jones’ cronies.
-Shelter staff should be hired on merit and fired for cause, not based on their relationship with Commissioner Jones or any other politician.

On Monday July 24, 2017, Protect Pickens Pets will be organizing a peaceful protest from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM in the Burger King parking lot in Pickens. The group has a permit from the local authorities and are encouraging supporters to create signs for the event.

The group made this statement on Facebook,

If you have not visited Pickens County Animal Shelter lately, please do so. You may not recognize it from just a short time ago. The adult cat room had feces all over and there was no water to be had. Adult cats are having to be packed into cages due to the volume of animals. Some cats have what appears to be untreated wounds and flies are everywhere. Sick kittens are in the same cage as the healthy. The cages were not cleaned and litter boxes were full. The shelter is maxed out with cats and they keep coming in. Dog kennel area had not been cleaned. Judy Moody’s discharge paperwork read: no longer needed. We and the animals at PCAS beg to differ Commissioner Jones. We hope you don’t plan to leave the current shelter employees understaffed and overwhelmed.

Within Moody’s public files her discharge papers did indeed read that her services were no longer needed. Citizens say they are bothered by the news asking,

If services are no longer needed, why is it being stated that the care at the shelter is declining?

Other citizens are questioning if protesters are focusing on the animals and what they need? If that be the rehire of Moody, hiring other employees, or replacing the leadership.

Along with discharge papers, a Voluntary Statement was made by one of Moody’s former co-workers. The statement did say that Judy told the kitten owners in an aggressive tone,

If you would have kept the kitten inside the kitten wouldn’t have gotten injured and run off. If you don’t want people to pick up your animals you should keep a better eye on your pets and keep them inside.

Commenters mentioned this wasn’t the first time that an incident like this has happened.

FYN will follow this story as it continues, or read Animal Shelter Employee Fired.

Fetch Your News is a hyper local news outlet that covers Dawson, Lumpkin, White, Fannin, Gilmer, Pickens, Union, Towns and Murray counties as well as Cherokee County in N.C. If you would like to follow up-to-date local events in any of those counties, please visit us at FetchYourNews.com

 

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