Conflicts arise between city &county animal control over operational, fiscal & managerial decisions

Conflicts between city and county over decisions

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Several months into a city-county animal control partnership, issues over operations decisions are causing conflict between both sides.

As a result, the Bakersfield Animal Control Commitee was established to foster cooperation.

The committee held a meeting Wednesday, which started out well. There were updates on several improvement projects at the county animal shelter.

But when the subject came to the joint cost and responsibility partnership between the city and county, things got heated.

"I just think there is a barrier to a true partnership with the city right now," said Bakersfield city councilman Ken Weir.

City officials are upset about being left out of major operations decisions including contract services --- namely the spay/neuter contract with Angeldogs -- which county animal control proposed to the county board of supervisors without the city's knowledge of the contract.

"To see actions done unilaterally without any input from the city and are somewhat of a surprise to the city and when you're talking about the magnitude of a $900,000 agreement, it has a potential to set in stone an agreement the city has no input into and yet is going to be a costdriver for what we're expected to contribute," said assistant city manager Steven Teglia.

Another issue is county animal control's fiscal and managerial decisions.
"We think some of those overhead costs shouldn't be attributable to the city's contract," said Teglia.

"There was no intention to do anything without the city's input but we also have to manage our daily operations," said animal control director Jen Woodard.

Both city and county animal control are going to have to learn to work together. At least through June 30 when this interim partnership is supposed to expire.

"I think we are definitely going through growing pains right now. It's a process we're going through based upon a new level of involvement, based upon a new  way of collaborating with the county," said Teglia.

"Moving forward, because this is so important, we will make sure (the city) is involved in every decision,"  said Woodard.

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