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Fiscal Court hires director for shelter

BY KATHLEEN FOX kfox@paducahsun.com

The McCracken Fiscal Court selected a new leader for the county animal shelter, although the path for the facility remains in flux.

The Fiscal Court approved Ryan Brown as McCracken County Animal Shelter Director, effective Tuesday, at a salary of $35,000 per year Monday night. The salary range for the position was $27,000 to $37,000. Joe Parmley, former animal control officer, had served as the interim director since Feb. 1.

Brown worked at USEC for 11 years and as the president of the security detail for the past four years before being laid off. He began studies at Murray State University as a pre-veterinary major before transitioning to a social work concentration through a displaced USEC employee program. He also has volunteered at the county animal shelter, Brown said.

"I think they saw that my leadership experience is going to be a positive thing," he said. "The shelter has been a ship without a rudder for a while but my focus will be getting animals the best care, finding homes and being fiscally responsible."

Deputy Judge-Executive Doug Harnice said a committee of himself, task force chairman Tim Davis, road department employee Lori Thompson and emergency management employee Ed Duff evaluated 25-30 applications over several months. He said the group pared the list to 12 finalists whom they interviewed, and then selected a top five to rank.

"It was an excellent group. It was unbelievable, they were really all pros," Harnice said. "We would have been happy with any of the top five."

The Fiscal Court will hear the task force's recommendation to repartner with the Humane Society from Davis during the next meeting, at 6 p.m. May 27. A group against a partnership with the Humane Society and in favor of building a new independent shelter again attended Monday's meeting.

The court also heard the first reading of the 2014-15 fiscal year $32,261,253 budget after several workshops over the past few weeks. The preliminary budget will be sent to the Kentucky Department for Local Government to review. The second reading and adaption of the budget is set for June 9.

The budget includes an increase in funding for the Emergency Communications Center of E-911, from $325,000 to $430,000. The extra $105,000 will come for the reserve or emergency fund. The court also decided to budget a flat amount - about $400,000 total - for the animal shelter and control and to keep funding for information technology (IT) at $315,000, the same as the previous fiscal year.

Commissioners have continued to emphasize raises to aid retention in the jail and sheriff's departments. The tiered raises would be the largest amount for the lowest level deputies, then decrease moving upward. The estimated cost for the increases in both departments, including Social Security and retirement costs, would be $162,000.

In other meeting business, the court selected current provider Kalleo Technologies of Paducah over KeeFORCE of Symsonia as the lowest bidder to continue providing county IT services by a 3-1 vote, with Commissioner Zana Renfro voting against.

The county placed the contract up for bids in March and held an IT workshop in early April. The county has used Kalleo Technologies since August 2010 following the end of a city-county partnership that split the cost evenly for in-house IT services.

The company was on a month-to-month contract and will now enter into a three-year contract with the county, according to Harnice.

The Fiscal Court voted to accept a budget amendment for funding to go toward the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program Property Acquisition Project after its second reading. The court also heard an update on the new Murray State Crisp Center. Enrollment for Murry State students at the Paducah campus increased by nearly 30 percent from spring 2013 to this spring, according to Dean of Continuing Education Brian Van Horn.

Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.

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