Transition team takes control of Carter County Animal Shelter

John Thompson • Aug 22, 2017 at 10:18 PM

ELIZABETHTON — After nearly a year of public controversy, the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter Advisory Board quietly passed its mission to a newly appointed transition board, which will prepare the way for the shelter to eventually be governed by a joint committee made up of members from the Carter County Commission and the Elizabethton City Council.

Mike Barnett chaired Tuesday’s meeting of the advisory board and will continue to serve as chairman of the newly formed transition board. He said the advisory board will probably dovetail into the Friends of the Shelter Committee, which he also chairs.

Barnett welcomed the newly appointed members of the transition board. He is the only member appointed by both the city and county, and his role is to be independent of both. The other members include three from the County Commission: Buford Peters, Sonja Culler and Kelly Collins, and three from the City Council, Sam Shipley, Wes Frazier and Kim Birchfield.

The transition board was a topic of discussion at Monday’s meeting of the Carter County Commission. Under the old agreement between the city and the county, direct oversight of operations at the shelter were entrusted in the county mayor. That will change under the new organization, as it appears direction will be equally shared by the city and the county, with direct day-to-day operations entrusted in the shelter director, Shannon Posada.

With the current role of the advisory board coming to an end, a meeting for the transition board was scheduled for Aug. 31 at 6 p.m. at the Carter County Courthouse, where the proposed bylaws for the future joint oversight committee will be discussed.

One of the matters that will have to be resolved by the transition board will be the shelter’s funding. The costs have been shared half and half by the city and county since the shelter began, but when Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey announced this year that the shelter had been seriously underfunded for years and requested a substantial increase in funds for the shelter, the city refused to go along with Humphrey’s request, saying city residents make up only a quarter of the population of the county and should not be required to fund half the shelter’s expenses.

On another note, Barnett asked if dogs from the shelter were still being driven to Kentucky for adoptions. Posada said that practice has ended.

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