Pocahontas County Commission Sticks With Decision On Animal Control Contract
Marlinton, WV – It seems to be an issue that resists being settled – the Pocahontas County animal shelter contract once again took center stage during the first meeting of the new fiscal year for the Pocahontas County Commission. The Commission budgeted $51,000.00 for the shelter for this fiscal year. On June 28th, the Commissioners awarded the 2011-2012 bid for the contract to former animal control officer Sandy Mallow. She had submitted a bid for $45,500.00.
The only other bid submitted was from John Fitzgerald and JP Duncan, owners of the Allegheny Recreation Center in Marlinton. ARC has housed the county animal shelter since January of 2010. Their bid for the contract was $74,400.00. At the meeting Tuesday, Fitzgerald and Duncan asked the Commissioners to reconsider their decision and give them the contract for shelter.
When Mallow submitted her bid, she admitted that her facility would need extensive upgrades to bring it up to the level required by the Commissions contract specifications. She estimated it would take 2 months or less to complete the renovations. In awarding the contract, the Commission agreed to give her a $5500.00 advance to pay for the work.
But ARC co-owner John Fitzgerald says that because Mallow had not made the upgrades prior to submitting her bid, she didn’t technically meet the requirements of the advertised contract. ARC has hired private investigator Chris Giannini from Cleveland, Ohio to look into the awarding of the bid.
Commissioner Jamie Walker says they awarded the bid with the understanding that if Mallow doesn’t complete the necessary upgrades within the two month time line, the contract may be re-advertised. Walker also says the Commission is only required to provide a shelter, not provide for adoption and rescue services.
Pamela Dill spoke out against Mallow, saying giving her the contract is a mistake. Dill cited several instances in which she says Mallow didn’t act in the best interest of the animals, and also asked the Commissioners to give the contract back to ARC.
While he appreciated Dill’s comments, Commissioner Walker countered that of the half dozen or so people who have spoken to him about Mallow, not one had anything bad to say about her. Commissioner Saffer agreed saying the issue in his mind is settled with the contract legally awarded to Mallow. Commission President David Fleming was not at the meeting Tuesday, but Saffer says Fleming did visit Mallow’s facility on June 28th and found it to be satisfactory pending the upgrades.
In other business, the Commission approved paying a little over $900.00 for damage done to the ARC facilities by a quarantined dog picked up after biting West Virginia State Trooper F.H. Barlow. He was treated for two bites, including stitches. The dog, designated as a vicious and dangerous animal, was euthanized with the owner’s permission.
The Commission took no action on an appointment to the Parks & Recreation board. The board had recommended the re-appointment of Roger Trusler, but Sam Gibson has also expressed an interest in serving. The Commissioners decided to table the appointment until the next meeting and invite both men to speak to them about the position.
They also took no action on a request from Snowshoe Mountain Resort asking for the Commission’s endorsement to allow the resort to sell beer at upcoming outdoor festivals. Commissioner Walker indicated that he would vote against such an endorsement saying it sends the wrong message when the county is battling alcohol and drug abuse issues. Commissioner Saffer agreed to table the issue until the next meeting so that Commissioner Fleming can also participate in the discussion.