Nevada County, Sammie’s Friends reach agreement on new contract | TheUnion.com

Nevada County, Sammie’s Friends reach agreement on new contract

"Lenny" at Sammie's Friends Animal Shelter in Grass Valley.

Sammie's Friends and Nevada County have reached an agreement for animal shelter operations, barely meeting a deadline to put the issue before the Board of Supervisors next week.

The two-year contract calls for the county to pay Sammie's Friends $739,000 each year. It's $4,000 less than what Cheryl Wicks, a cofounder of Sammie's Friends, called a "bare bone" amount. However, a private donation will partially bridge the financial gap, as will the group's fundraising efforts.

"I feel great," Wicks said Thursday. "I'm just happy to have this whole — I don't even know — onerous, overbearing process done."

Sheriff's Capt. Jeff Pettitt, who participated in the contract negotiations, said Thursday was the last day they had to complete the contract and get it before supervisors for their Tuesday meeting.

The existing contract ends June 30.

"I'm feeling good," he said. "I'm glad it's signed. We're happy to have that done."

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Wicks praised Pettitt for his role in the negotiations, calling his job tough and thanking him for his patience.

Wicks said she went into the negotiations asking for $743,000. The county offered $635,000. They met near the middle at $714,000. An additional $25,000 will come from a trust fund, bringing the total annual amount to $739,000.

Part of that money includes funds for two positions that will enable Wicks and cofounder Curt Romander to step back from day-to-day operations.

"We're not completely disappearing," Wicks said. "I'll still be president of the board."

The contract negotiations become a sticking point earlier this year when a county panel recommended Placer County house some local animals at its Auburn facility. Nevada County intended to take animal shelter operations from Sammie's Friends.

Supporters of Sammie's Friends became outraged. Sheriff Keith Royal later opted against working with Placer and instead began negotiating a new contract with Sammie's Friends.

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

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