Three Bradley County gentlemen — two with a reputation for being sticklers for details and data and a third known for being vocal about transparency and open government — now sit in the three top spots on the SPCA of Bradley County’s board of directors.
In a move that can be described as totally unexpected, former Bradley County Commissioner Ed Elkins was appointed to the SPCA board and named its president.
He was nominated to the board by SPCA board member Perk Evans who described Elkins as “still a man of honor,” and was seconded by fellow board member Chris Turner, who called Elkins “a mentor.”
The nomination was unanimously approved.
In quick succession, Turner was named treasurer of the organization and Evans was given the responsibility of secretary.
Elkins succeeds SPCA founder Betti Gravelle who announced her intention to leave the position at the beginning of the meeting and before the officers were named.
“Since serving as president of the board, every decision I have made has been for the betterment of the animals,” Gravelle said. “They’ve certainly not been the most popular with the media for sure, a very vocal minority of the public or some members of the County Commission. Regardless of that, every decision I made was always, always for the betterment of the animals.”
She said the three new members’ “... counsel, direction and volunteerism has brought new life to the board, and definitely tangible leadership.”
“I know without a shadow of a doubt the SPCA is on the right track now. The SPCA is on the road to success and I do believe, that being said and knowing that with every fiber of my being, it’s time to pass the torch to the next president.”
She said she would remain as a member of the board and would “... rededicate myself to my primary mission, which is Dixie Day Spay.”
Elkins, upon taking the lead chair, said he was “honored by the confidence you have placed in me.”
“My sole interests are the welfare of the animals and that we have a successful organization to provide the animal control and take care of the animals that have fallen to the wayside in Bradley County,” he said.
Board member and County Commissioner Dan Rawls said there was “no doubt in my mind Ed Elkins is a person who looks at every aspect of what’s going on, and does the research and looks at the data. This is a very good addition to the board and will be of great help to the SPCA and the community.”
Turner told the board Gravelle was currently on the bank accounts for financial transactions and he believed it “appropriate to add myself and Mr. Elkins as two officers to that.”
He also suggested getting a “purchasing card” for the shelter’s manager of operations “to expedite necessary expenditures” of a certain limit still to be set.
Turner’s proposals were passed unanimously.
Evans reported he has begun looking at bylaw changes that would require board members not be absent for three consecutive or special called board meetings, as well as allowing for electronic attendance following recent changes to state law which prescribe how that can and should be done.
Turner pointed out any bylaw changes must be approved by a unanimous vote of the board, so those changes will be further discussed later.
County shelter manager of operations Jordan Williams gave a report saying operations at the shelter have been “running beautifully.”
“Most importantly, we have been and will continue to exceed contractual obligations,” Williams said. “We have never turned away a single citizen in need of our help.”
He said there have been six calls from the Sheriff’s Office that were responded to under a 30-minute response agreement.
“Aug. 19-24 we began taking every animal that was brought to us, receiving 40 intakes,” Williams said. “With the help of a great many volunteers, adoptions soared to 27 animals.”
He said the following week, the shelter took in 63 animals while adoptions rose to 34 animals, with 23 going to rescue organizations.
“This model of operation is destined for continued success. We have not turned away any intakes from emergency calls and lowered the shelter’s previous population,” Williams said. “We are currently at 28 cats and 55 dogs. That’s open intake.”
Board members also voted to accept a recommendation from Turner that bid packages for different combinations of veterinarian services such as spay and neuter and vaccinations be developed.
Those will be sent to area veterinarians to give them a chance to acquire the rights to provide those services should their bid be the lowest, and of quality.
Option 1 would be for surgery, spay and neuter for cats and dogs, as well as microchip. Option 2 would be dogs specifically for surgery, spay and neuter, rabies vaccination, HPVV vaccination and microchip. Option 3 would be the same as Option 2 except for cats with FVRCP vaccination.
Board members also voted to sell the SPCA van for junk metal and asked Rawls to maintain contact with county departments for potential vehicles the SPCA may be able to obtain for a cheap rate to use for animal transport.
The board will also meet every Monday this month, beginning next week, Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the County Commission room.
A meeting is also set for the same time and place on Sept. 15.
The time for the Sept. 22 meeting is still to be determined.