The ranks of membership on the SPCA board of directors has been reduced once again, and the president of the organization has been hit with a citation from the Tennessee Department of Public Health and may have attempted to circumvent the laws concerning the open records for a nonprofit.
SPCA board member and treasurer Jack Burke Jr. resigned his position as a board member and officer.
The letter, dated Aug. 20 and addressed to SPCA President Betti Gravelle, stated Burke has been “concerned about the disregard for standardized acco-unting practices.”
Burke’s letter suggests he was locked out of the animal shelter and access to the financial records for which he was responsible on the day he voted against Gravelle’s recommendation to terminate former director Bobbi Anderson.
Burke also was vocal in his criticism of Gravelle during that meeting.
“Additionally, I am no longer able to access invoices, receipts, funds for deposit or daily transaction information (except during business hours, which conflict with my work schedule) as the locks to the facility located on Johnson Boulevard have been changed,” Burke wrote. “Therefore, I have been prevented from completing my duties as of 18 August 2014.”
Burke states in the letter that while he was in the process of writing it Wednesday evening, Gravelle sent two text messages to him asking for the code to the safe at the facility on Johnson Boulevard.
“This has been the first request from her or anyone else to the safe’s contents,” Burke wrote.
He said he had surrendered “all physical supplies and as well as the complete and accurate documents for all financial matters of this organization, and requested written acknowledgement of the same.”
Bradley County Commissioner Charlotte Peak-Jones has also submitted her official letter of resignation from the board of directors.
The commissioner stated her resignation was because she felt “the SPCA board is not acting in the best interest of our community,” citing the lack of policy and transparency as well as conflicts of interest.
“I am also resigning because of the travesty of injustice that the former director, Bobbi Anderson endured,” she wrote. “In my opinion, there was no true evidence of insubordination by Ms. Anderson. Any violations that were alleged were due solely to the inability to house more animals at the facility at the SPCA.”
County Commissioner Mark Hall remains on the board of directors as of now, but until Commissioner-elect Dan Rawls is sworn in, that leaves only one commissioner on the board, which violates the contract with the county requiring that two commissioners be at the table.
Gravelle is facing other problems at the moment with the Dixie Day Spay, a nonprofit of which she is also president.
A disciplinary action report released by the State of Tennessee Department of Public Health cited Dixie Day Spay for “failing to comply with the minimum standards for drug procedures, to wit: failed to keep a record of all drugs administered or dispensed, failed to distribute prescription drugs only within a veterinarian-client-patient partnership.”
Dixie Day Spay had its license remanded and was assessed a $500 civil penalty.
Gravelle also received a correspondence from Shawn McKay, finance director/city clerk for the city of Cleveland.
In the letter dated Feb. 25, McKay said the City Council was reviewing the records for animals rescued from the City Animal Shelter.
The letter requested information for animals pulled by the Dixie Spay/Neuter Express for the previous 12 months, including spay/neuter records, vaccination reports and current location of animals.
A response was requested by March 24.
Gravelle’s response, dated March 10, described the request as “rather voluminous” and said the charge for copies would be $549.90 and the cost for 2,444 hours of labor at $12.50 per hour would be $30,099.80.
“We will require the payment from you in advance. If you pay by check, we will need a cashier’s check (made payable to Dixie Say Spay) in the amount of $31,099.90,” Gravelle’s letter said.
According to Tennessee state law regarding nonprofits, all records of such an organization “shall be open for inspection.”
Charging to allow access to such records could be interpreted as an attempt to deny access to them.
The Cleveland Daily Banner attempted to contact Gravelle at Dixie Day Spay on Friday morning for her comments on the matters. A staff member at the facility said Gravelle was not there, but would attempt to relay the message to her that a comment from her was beng requested.
Gravelle had not responded as of press time.