Nevada County opts to work with Sammie’s Friends | TheUnion.com

Nevada County opts to work with Sammie’s Friends

Nevada County authorities said Tuesday they'll stop negotiations with Placer County and work with Sammie's Friends on extending the local group's contract to operate the animal shelter.

Sheriff Keith Royal said he spoke with Curt Romander, who along with Cheryl Wicks cofounded Sammie's Friends, about extending their contract at least a year past its June 30 end date. He also wants to discuss their organization's future once Romander and Wicks leave the daily operations to others.

"We know this is a sensitive issue," Royal said. "We're trying to find a win-win in this."

Wicks praised the decision. She vowed to fight after learning April 16 that officials intended to contract with Placer County and have some local animals adopted out of its Auburn facility.

"I'm happy about that," she said of the new development. "I'm real happy about it."

No in-person discussions between Nevada County and Sammie's Friends have occurred yet. A town hall meeting about Sammie's Friends remains scheduled for 5:30 p.m. today at the Foothills Event Center, 400 Idaho Maryland Road, Grass Valley.

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Supporters of Sammie's Friends lashed out online and elsewhere after hearing a county panel had recommended Placer County adopt out some local animals from its shelter. Under that proposal, Nevada County would have taken over operations of the McCourtney Road facility. Intake would have continued at that location, and some adoptions may have continued.

Advocates of Sammie's Friends crowded Tuesday into the chambers of the Board of Supervisors. Hours later Royal announced the move to work with Romander and Wicks' group.

"We heard the community loud and clear," Royal said. "We would like to see it stay here, also."

Wicks told supervisors Tuesday morning that her group submitted a $743,000 bid to run the shelter. She estimated the county would see over a $1 million value, because of money people donate to her cause.

Royal said his staff would work with Sammie's Friends on a reasonable cost to run the facility.

Wicks said a future leader for the shelter is one reason Sammie's Friends asked for more money. Wicks and Romander currently are paid an annual salary of $12,000 each.

"If you hire a really good person, you're going to have to pay them some good money," Wicks said.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.