Former director alleges illegality
by BRIAN GRAVES Banner Staff Writer
Aug 21, 2014 | 2715 views | 0 0 comments | 31 31 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Allegations, charges, denials, promotions, more charges and resignations.

The saga that has surrounded the SPCA of Bradley County’s operation of the county animal shelter is now entering the legal realm.

Former SPCA county animal shelter director Bobbi Anderson, who was terminated by the SPCA board Monday night, is filing a report today with the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office accusing members of the organization’s board of directors of conducting an illegal search of her personal possessions.

Those allegations are being firmly and quickly pushed back by an SPCA board member.

At the same time, Bradley County Commissioner and SPCA board member Charlotte Peak-Jones is submitting her official resignation today and she told the Cleveland Daily Banner it is her understanding there could be as many as two more submitted before the end of Thursday.

According to a statement Anderson released to the Cleveland Daily Banner on Wednesday, a group of Cleveland for a No Kill City members “were policing the front door [of the shelter] when I arrived from the meeting [Monday night] and would not allow me into the building until Ms. [Betti] Gravelle [president of the SPCA] gave her permission.”

“The attitude of both [SPCA board members] Perk Evans and Dan Rawls can best be described as adversarial,” Anderson wrote.

“Perk, directed by Rawls, watched my every move in and out of the building, monitoring my every action, inspecting every article and bag and responding curtly to questions,” she wrote. “They subjected anyone who tried to help me with the same treatment.”

Anderson said the search was without her consent.

Further describing the scene, Anderson said Bradley County Sheriff’s deputies were at the scene with one waiting in front of the building and two standing “either in the entry watching while my bags were inspected or at my office door while I gathered my personal belongings.”

“When I asked if this was all necessary, the response was that it was proper procedure,” Anderson wrote.

Evans told the Banner early today he would “encourage her to [file her charges].”

He added, “There are repercussions for filing false reports.”

“After she was terminated by Betti [Gravelle], she attempted to take SPCA property, including many binders and folders which are SPCA proprietary information,” he said.

Evans charged that Anderson had “several people in the back office and she was shredding documents.”

“This was witnessed by half a dozen people, three board members and two sheriff’s deputies,” Evans said.

Evans also pointed out that since Anderson’s departure, the shelter’s 911 phone “has gone missing.”

“We had to change the number over to another phone,” he said. “It seems to be an attempt to sabotage this organization.”

He added that Anderson was allowed to leave with personal possessions and, according to him, did give her consent for the searches.

Evans also made public the new director of operations for the shelter has been named.

He said Jordan Williams, who has served as humane officer and assistant, is now taking the lead role at the shelter.

Evans said since Tuesday, “with Jordan’s leadership and volunteers, the outgo has exceed the intake.”

He added he understood there are a lot of emotions involved with the situation, but he volunteered to be on the board “to ensure the mission of the SPCA is carried out [and] to make sure the contract with Bradley County will be honored.”

“This will happen,” Evans said.

In other SPCA matters, Peak-Jones confirmed that she has in fact contacted the state comptroller’s office concerning potential conflicts of interest by Gravelle in her role as director of three nonprofits which coordinate actions between them.

“I was told that would have to go to a conflict of interest board along with financial records,” Peak-Jones said. “I personally do not have the time to do that, but I understand there are people working on that process.”