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Animal Welfare Board selects new chairman, reviews by-laws

Joann Tatro was named the new chairman of the Unicoi County Animal Welfare Board during the group’s scheduled meeting on Tuesday, June 9, in Erwin.
Previous chair, Kari Pfaender, is leaving the board, but will still assist when applicable, joking with members that they ‘can’t rid of me that easy.’ Tatro, along with Linda Mathes, Chris Oetjen and Unicoi County Animal Shelter Director Jessica Rogers presented Pfaender with a thank you card at the conclusion of the meeting for her years of service with the board.
In new business, along with the election of Tatro, the by-laws of the welfare board were reviewed by members to set ahead for the new fiscal year.
According to the bylaws, if a board member misses three consecutive meetings the board has the authority to nominate a replacement for that member, either temporary or permanent.
“I think it is important we keep to this,” Tatro said. “With Kari going off and we don’t have a replacement, that leaves three of us that will show up and we won’t be able to vote on everything. Also, it is uncomfortable voting on things when we don’t have a full board available; it isn’t a good representation. Now that we have the by-laws, I think it is a good time for us to start sticking to them.”
The members agreed that the by-laws will help stabilize the board’s status moving forward and show an invested interest by the members.
“I think that if we’re asking Jessica to abide by the by-laws that we have in place for her, that we, as a board, need to stick with the by-laws,” Pfaender said.
While no replacement has been named for Pfaender, Linda Mathes stated that Erwin Mayor Doris Hensley will be in the process of nominating a replacement for her spot on the board for the 2015-2016 fiscal year to provide a representative from Erwin.
The board unanimously voted on placing a $4,000 cap to purchase a new storage shed at the animal shelter.
Members agreed during the meeting that money would be available, and that not all of the cap would be used in purchasing a medium-sized storage shed.
In the opening of the meeting during the treasurer’s report, Tatro announced that with one month left in the current year’s budget, the shelter was at 78-percent of expenditures and will go in the new year spending less than what was budgeted for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
During the old business portion of the meeting, the status of a revised interlocal agreement between the county, towns and the shelter was still in the final stages of revision, according to Tatro.
During the board’s meeting held on May 12, members worked on the interlocal agreement between the county, Erwin and Unicoi with the animal shelter. The old version of the agreement stated that if one party declined to fund the shelter, the remaining parties would have to buy out the leaving party’s part of the shelter building.
A motion passed unanimously that the updated agreement would specify that the shelter will own the building as long as it continues to function as an animal shelter and that there would be no buy-out provision.
Also on Tuesday, members also agreed to look for a new location to conduct their meetings. Erwin Town Hall was nominated as the location for future business.