Nevada County supervisors to examine animal shelter contract next week | TheUnion.com

Nevada County supervisors to examine animal shelter contract next week

The clock is ticking for Nevada County supervisors to approve a new contract with Sammie's Friends before a deadline next week.

The Board of Supervisors is scheduled on Tuesday to discuss a new contract between the county and Sammie's Friends. The existing contract ends June 30. It's unknown what will happen to the county's animal shelter without a new agreement.

"We can't work without a contract," said Cheryl Wicks, a cofounder of Sammie's Friends — the organization that runs the county animal shelter. "I don't know."

Sheriff's Capt. Jeff Pettitt, working with Wicks on a new contract, declined to discuss specifics about the negotiations with Sammie's Friends.

"The county's doing everything in its power to get consensus on this contract and get it before the board so they can vote on it," Pettitt said.

The county and Sammie's Friends have met a handful of times to negotiate the contract. They agreed on a budget for the first year of operations, but not the second year, Wicks said.

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Additionally, Sammie's Friends has balked at the county's request that the animal shelter shoulder the burden of a management system. No one raised the issue during negotiations, and in the past the county has paid for it, she added.

Wicks expressed frustration over the negotiation process, adding that she had a signed contract some two months before the deadline the last two times she negotiated contract extensions.

"We have a bunch of employees," Wicks said. "What are we going to do?"

Sammie's Friends has operated the Nevada County shelter since 2010. Anticipating the existing contract's June 30 expiration, county officials months ago opted to issue a request for proposals for the shelter's operations. Sammie's Friends and Placer County submitted proposals. A county panel then recommended Placer County, which suggested it house some local animals at its Auburn facility. Nevada County officials said they would operate the McCourtney Road shelter.

The recommendation led to outrage among Sammie's Friends supporters. About 100 people attended an April supervisors meeting to support Wicks. Days later Sheriff Keith Royal said his office would forego working with Placer and instead begin negotiations with Sammie's Friends.

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

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