PASSED Article 2012-18 Elected ACO

Re: Article 2012-18 Citizen Petition – Animal Control Office

Postby russh » Fri Mar 09, 2012 10:36 am

shawn_oneil wrote:The Regional ACO position was posted, and interviews were conducted (12 candidates applied). Sheila did not apply. Drum roll please.................... Wonder why?


Just a guess here, but the background investigation, and physiological exam as a condition of employment in Plaistow, ( similar to a Police officer ), *might* be a factor.
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Re: Article 2012-18 Citizen Petition – Animal Control Office

Postby shawn_oneil » Fri Mar 09, 2012 12:19 pm

safety frog wrote:Small town politics so fun. Seems like the ACO should be hired, supervised and fired by the Police Chief!


I'm positive that the Police Chief would support the Regional ACO approach.
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Re: Article 2012-18 Citizen Petition – Animal Control Office

Postby russh » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:37 pm

Sheila wrote:as permitted by NHRSA 41:1.


http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/III/41/41-1.htm

41:1 Election. – [Repealed 1979, 410:2, III, eff. July 1, 1979.]


Care to try a different statute?

How about - http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/rsa/html/III/41/41-2.htm

41:2 Optional Officers. – In addition to the officers which towns are hereinafter required to elect at the annual meeting, any town may choose one or more collectors of taxes, agents, overseers of public welfare, constables, police chiefs or other police officers, and every other officer who may be directed by law to be chosen, and such other officers as it may judge necessary for managing its affairs, who shall perform the duties prescribed by law. Constables, police chiefs or police officers shall be elected pursuant to the provisions of RSA 41:47.
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Re: Article 2012-18 Citizen Petition – Animal Control Office

Postby russh » Fri Mar 09, 2012 8:42 pm

Sheila wrote:..........the Danville ACO position was funded at $13.76/hr where the Plaistow Regional ACO position was funded at $16.00/hr.


Why not just apply for the regional position? If you are the best qualified, you would have Plaistow AND Danville, a hefty raise, and I'm sure more hours at that higher rate... I'm curious what motivated you to pass on this option?
Last edited by russh on Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Article 2012-18 Citizen Petition – Animal Control Office

Postby curt » Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:25 pm

In a letter to the Carriage Towne News, Sheila Johannesen wrote:March 8, 2012
To Danville Voters:

As Danville's former Animal Control Officer (ACO), I am the lead petitioner on Article 2012-18, which seeks to require that the Town's ACO be an elected position each year as permitted by NHRSA 41:1. The reason that I am promoting this change is because I (as well as many others) feel that the Selectmen's "secret meeting" decision to not reappoint the Town's ACO and to commit the Town to a regional ACO contract with Plaistow is not in your economic best interests.

ACO services via Plaistow will take longer and will cost the Town more money than by keeping things as they were. While the Danville ACO budget over the past 5 years cost the Town an annual average of $14,572.00, the Danville ACO generated annual average revenues of $10,505.00 from fines and license fees. As a result, the total annual average cost to the Town for their own ACO and ACO budget was only $4,067.00. The regional Plaistow ACO makes 60% more per hour than the Danville ACO made. Plaistow's kennel and holding costs are also 60% more than the previous Danville arrangement. Also, the number of licenses and associated fees generated under the new arrangement are down by 24% ($2500). In addition, apparently the newly hired regional ACO resigned abruptly after only two months. The Danville police are currently acting as interim ACOs, which costs the Town more money and takes time away from other safety related tasks that the police should be doing. It also increases liability issues for the Town as the police are neither trained nor certified to properly care for animals or to deal with the many different animal related issues that come up. The police are also not vaccinated against rabies.

The Plaistow Selectmen minutes of August 22, 2011 reflect just how cost effective the regional ACO contract will be to Danville. They state that Plaistow will realize an annual potential increase in income of $15,000 to $30,000 with this new program.

Please vote "Yes" on Petition Article 2012-18 to put the ACO position back in Town in order to bring back the efficient, cost effective ACO services that we once had and to keep our tax dollars down.

Sheila Johannesen

Danville
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Re: Article 2012-18 Citizen Petition – Animal Control Office

Postby curt » Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:29 pm

In a letter to the Carriage Towne News, Laura Games wrote:March 8, 2012
Selectmen's Judgment Questioned

I am very disturbed at the abrupt dismissal of long time Danville Town personnel by the Board of Selectmen. First it was the Selectmen's Clerk a while back and then, most recently, the Animal Control Officer (ACO). As a longtime resident (22 years), these are people that I interacted with numerous times and that I considered very professional and effective in their jobs.

Last year, the Danville Board of Selectmen (chaired by Shawn O'Neil) chose not to reappoint Sheila Johannesen to the Animal Control Officer (ACO) position that she had devotedly held for seven years. They made their decision in a non public meeting, which gave Sheila no chance to defend herself or speak to their alleged grievances. How in the world could this decision have possibly been in the best interests of the Town? It certainly couldn't have been for job performance or budgetary reasons.

Sheila's vigorous enforcement of state-required license laws more than paid for her salary. In fact, Sheila's hard work and devotion to her job had always been above and beyond the call of duty. When the Town wouldn't pay for adequate training, Sheila applied for scholarships and was able to attend at no cost to the Town. When the Town wouldn't give her a town vehicle so that she wouldn't have to use her own personal vehicle to transport lost pets, Sheila was able to solicit and obtain a donated vehicle at no cost to the Town. Having a limited budget that wouldn't pay for adequate equipment, Sheila worked at obtaining equipment donations. In fact, she was able to get pet resuscitation equipment donated to the Town's Fire Department, again, at no cost to the Town. In addition, Sheila started a non profit organization called the Danville RAINBOW Association (Rescuing Animals in Need by Offering Welfare), which helped to offset expenditures within the Animal Control Department. Sheila raised funds for this organization through donations, bake sales, annual low cost rabies clinics for persons who couldn't afford veterinary visits and other fundraising events. For all of us in Town who have ever panicked over a lost pet, Sheila had always been there for us and worked however long it took to find and return our beloved pets to their home. For those pets who never found their way home, Sheila always found them a new one.

In my opinion, the decision to not reappoint Sheila as ACO was a very bad one. Taken together with the abrupt dismissal of the former Selectmen's Clerk, it should certainly make everyone in Danville want to question the Selectmen's judgment regarding these and other decisions that they are making in the so called "best interests of the Town".

Please keep this in mind during the next election and vote "Yes" on citizen petition Article 2012-18 to make the ACO position an elected position.

Laura Games

Danville

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Re: Article 2012-18 Citizen Petition – Animal Control Office

Postby curt » Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:32 pm

In a letter to the Carriage Towne News, Russ Harding wrote:March 1, 2012
Residents of Danville:

This year there is a citizen's petition before the town that looks to make the Danville Animal Control Officer (ACO) an elected position. I know on the surface it sounds like a good idea, but context is king when it comes to issues like this.

The selectmen decided to no longer carry the position of ACO in this town, and they explored a regional alternative last year. The town of Plaistow approached Danville with an offer to combine resources, where the town of Plaistow had an excess of capacity, and we had an under capacity. While working in this regional agreement, the town saw a significant reduction in the time it took to execute calls, absolutely no resident complaints to our town, or Plaistow, by residents of Danville, and an overall reduction in expenses by well over 50%, as opposed to double digit overruns in previous years.

The warrant before you was brought forth by the previous ACO who was not reappointed for a number of reasons, only some of which are financial. Her goal in my opinion is to remove the regional agreement by this town, and to stifle other towns from doing the same. I strongly disagree with this stance, as I see us as a small town, surrounded by small and medium sized towns, which would greatly benefit from more regional cooperation between us. I personally feel that if a group of towns cooperate, then as a group we can create better resources and opportunities for our citizens than as isolated individual towns. The regional ACO position is an example of this type of cooperation where two towns come together to share resources, neither bears the full brunt of the expense, and a better service is provided for both towns.

Please join me on March 13 in voting 'No' to creating an elected Animal Control Office in the town of Danville. It undermines the fiscal responsibilities that the Selectmen are trying to put into place, and represents a step backwards for this town.

Russ Harding

Member, Board of Selectmen

Danville
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Re: Article 2012-18 Citizen Petition – Animal Control Office

Postby curt » Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:37 pm

In a letter to the Carriage Towne News, Sheila Johannesen wrote:February 23, 2012
ACO Position Should be Elected

After seven years of devoted, cost effective service to the Town of Danville, the Board of Selectmen chose to not reappoint the Town's Animal Control Officer (ACO). They did so during a non public session where they neither invited the ACO to attend nor gave her an opportunity to respond to their alleged issues and/or reasons for their decision. The Selectmen then entered into a short lived (two months) regional animal control contract with the Town of Plaistow. The reason that the Selectmen gave for their decision was that it was a cost effective move, which is incredibly hard to believe if one looks at the facts.

The Danville ACO funded most of her position through dog license fees and fines. In addition, the Danville ACO position was funded at $13.76/hr where the Plaistow Regional ACO position was funded at $16.00/hr. The Danville ACO response time was less than ten minutes where the Plaistow ACO response time for Danville issues was approximately thirty minutes. The Danville ACO's contract with the NHSPCA to hold an animal for seven days and care for it cost approximately $178.00. The same animal care and holding period charged by the Plaistow regional contract is $438.00, a 60% increase!(If an animal goes unclaimed for seven days it is put up for adoption).

Not only have the costs to the Town of Danville dramatically increased with this new arrangement but there are new potential costs associated with liability concerns. The Danville ACO was specifically trained, certified and insured to properly care for animals and to deal with many different animal situations. She was also vaccinated against rabies. Currently, the Danville Police are serving as ACOs. The Danville Police are neither trained nor certified as ACOs. They are not insured as ACOs nor vaccinated against rabies. This current situation is a huge accident just waiting to happen that may have severe consequences!

The Selectmen want you to believe that eliminating the Danville ACO position was a cost effective move. It was not. Please vote "Yes" on citizen petition Article 2012-18 to make the ACO position an elected position.

Sheila Johannesen

Danville
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Re: Article 2012-18 Citizen Petition – Animal Control Office

Postby curt » Sun Mar 11, 2012 8:20 pm

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Re: Article 2012-18 Citizen Petition – Animal Control Office

Postby curt » Tue Mar 13, 2012 8:58 pm

I received a text from a reliable source that this article passed.
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Re: Article 2012-18 Citizen Petition – Animal Control Office

Postby SBinRockrimmon » Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:01 pm

curt wrote:I received a text from a reliable source that this article passed.


I'm a bit surprised, but from a legal standpoint does it really mean much? I could be wrong, but don't the selectmen still dictate the duties and salary of this position?
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Re: Article 2012-18 Elected ACO - Passed

Postby curt » Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:21 pm

There's lots of case law on stuff like this. I know because I paid my lawyer to dig it up when I challenged the selectmen's lawyer's opinion that the 2011 warrant article giving management of the fire hall (community center) to a committee was advisory.

Some principles:

The intent of a petitioned article should be not be interpreted too strictly. Although the article did not say what the duties are, it seems reasonable to infer they are whatever Sheila did.

The selectmen are to carry out town meeting votes to the extent that they are things towns are authorized to do by state law and that they do not infringe on their (selectmen) various statutory powers which are not subject to town votes. For example, the selectmen have statutory authority to abate any tax bill fully or partially for any reason they see fit, so the town cannot vote to direct them on this.

The selectmen and budget committee cooperate to set salaries. Not to set a salary commensurate with the guidelines that the BOS recently adopted on the recommendation of a consultant I think would be seen by a court as not carrying out the will of the town meeting.

If you are interested HERE is a link to the opinion I commissioned on Article 2011-20.
Last edited by curt on Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:09 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Article 2012-18 Citizen Petition – Animal Control Office

Postby russh » Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:22 pm

curt wrote:I received a text from a reliable source that this article passed.



It did pass.
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Re: Article 2012-18 Elected ACO - Passed

Postby Sheila » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:45 pm

Yes 418 No 263
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Re: Article 2012-18 Elected ACO - Passed

Postby Sheila » Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:19 am

March 14,[quote][/quote] 2012

Animal control officer position reinstated
By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com The Eagle Tribune Wed Mar 14, 2012, 03:58 AM EDT


DANVILLE — The town will have its own animal control officer again.

Residents voted, 418-263, yesterday to reinstate the position after it was eliminated a year ago.

Voters also elected incumbent Shawn O'Neil and Michelle Cooper to three-year terms on the Board of Selectmen. Thomas Billbrough Jr. was defeated in his bid to join the board.

Cooper was the top vote getter in the selectmen's race. She received 432 votes to 355 for O'Neil and 249 for Billbrough.

The proposal to reinstate the animal control officer position was submitted by Sheila Johannesen through a citizen petition.

Johannesen held the position until selectmen decided not to reappoint her in April 2011. Once the position was eliminated, the town contracted with Plaistow for animal control services.

Approval of the warrant article means an animal control officer will be elected each March, starting in 2013.

Johannesen said she intends to run for the position when the job is up for grabs next year. She was ecstatic after learning the vote results last night.

"I am very pleased with the results," Johannesen said. "It shows that people's pets are very important to them, and that local animal control is also very important to them."

Johannesen has claimed a "personal vendetta" prompted selectmen to end her employment with the town after seven years.

She and O'Neil, the board's chairman, often clashed over the animal control budget.

But O'Neil has said that's not why Johannesen was not reappointed.

It's a personnel matter that cannot be discussed publicly, he said.

In the only other contested race, Sarah Gannon-Weston was elected library trustee over Michelle O'Neil, 336-273. The position is for three years.

Residents voted, 338-329, to approve an operating budget of $2,740,652. The default budget was $2,715,584.

They also backed a proposal to allow drive-through windows at businesses in the Village District. The vote was 428-229.

But voters defeated, 396-280, an advisory warrant article that asked selectmen to adopt a mandatory recycling program.

• • •
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