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Animal shelter positions revamped

By Chris Paschenko
chris@decaturdaily.com 340-2442

An administrative shuffle at Decatur Animal Shelter received City Council approval Monday, including a move that abolishes the current director's position and five others.

The net result gives the shelter a total of seven positions, two of which the council has not yet funded. The measure also increases salaries and responsibilities among the job descriptions.

Danny Melson, the current shelter director, said Monday after the council meeting that the reorganization was necessary to increase efficiency and better serve the city. He said he will apply for a position with the shelter once his position is abolished effective May 31.

Councilman Ronny Russell, liaison to the animal shelter, said the reorganization was necessary because the city's previous focus was on animal control.

"We looked at all the city ordinances, and they're all focused on animal control," Russell said. "We want it to shift to animal care and control."

Advertising positions

Russell said the city will advertise for the director's position, which has a starting salary of $43,706 per year.

"It tops out at $65,000 to $70,000, but it's the lowest-paid department head in the city," Russell said. "We will advertise for the director's position, which will hopefully be posted this week."

The new positions will be director of Animal Services, field supervisor, cruelty investigator, service officer, adoption manager, animal care/kennel manager and a kennel technician.

The reorganization precedes the city's plans to move the animal shelter to a building on Beltline Road Southwest, which houses the developmental center.

The council approved the move last year and included funding part of the measure in a $16.2 million general warrant issued in October to pay for capital items.

The city plans to construct a building for the developmental center on Central Parkway Southwest at a cost of $650,000. Renovating the Beltline Road building to house the shelter and adoption center is projected to cost $1 million, which is part of the general warrant.

"The funding for the new development center was approved June 27, 2006, and continues to be escrowed in the city budget," Russell said. "The appropriation will be made simultaneously when the bid for the new development center is awarded in the end of March. Hopefully we will be in the new shelter within 16 to 18 months."

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