The recent behavior of Great Falls mayor Bob Kelly and the other commissioners on our city commission is unacceptable and should be alarming to every citizen in our community.
Here is a brief recap:
- Commissioners Robinson & Moe have been conducting secret meetings with the Maclean Animal Adoption Center to negotiate a partnership with the City and draft documents outlining the terms, without public input or a public record.
- When pressed on the issue Mayor Kelly was not entirely honest or forthcoming about the secret negotiations, saying it was an “example of the types of meetings we do every day in this community”.
- The mayor and commissioners seem to think that scolding and lecturing taxpaying citizens and not answering our questions is just fine. They do so behind the pretense that they can’t discuss issues that aren’t on the agenda and that public comment time is only for comments, not questions. Hogwash and flapdoodle.
The mayor and commissioners have been dodging, ducking and lying about this issue long enough now, time to DEMAND answers and accountability.
Because of technical glitches in the City of Great Falls video of the June 4, 2019 city commission meeting resulting in some of the audio being garbled and video being disjointed, some of the comments from citizens were missed. Following are the comments at the meeting given by Pam Hendrickson and Jeni Dodd.
Pam Hendrickson comments:
“Once again I am asking Commissioner Robinson to remove himself from all discussions related to a potential partnership with the Maclean Animal Center and the City animal shelter. As past president of the Animal Foundation there is no reason in the world to believe that you have no vested interest in assisting Maclean in their lengthy and ongoing efforts to talk the City into paying their bills.
And I am asking Commissioner Moe to recuse herself due to her duplicity in this matter, and to provide documentation about where these huge cost savings are coming from.
I am asking Commissioner Bronson to stop worrying so much about the supposed integrity of these two people and start looking at the facts of the matter.
Lastly I am asking the Mayor to stand up for transparency in City government, and to allow taxpayers to participate in discussions they have interest in.
In closing I would like to respond to the lectures from Commissioners Bronson and Moe about those of us who are “holding on to grievances of the past.” Do the hairs on the back of my neck go up when I hear about the City talking with Maclean? Absolutely. But this isn’t sour grapes. It is justified alarm at the prospect of spending more tax funds than we already are.
It’s about my objections to bailing out a nonprofit that always assumed the City would step up and therefore failed to plan appropriately for the long-term. And maybe more than anything, I am determined to stop the smoke and mirrors that seems to be so prevalent with this particular City Commission.”
Jeni Dodd comments:
“I feel Commissioners Moe and Robinson are misleading the public about the potential partnership between the Maclean Animal Shelter and the city.
Moe mentioned visiting Heart of the Valley Animal Shelter in Bozeman and that Bozeman and other area communities contract with Heart of the Valley for animal services. She stated, “I believe if we contracted with the Maclean under the same circumstances, we would save half a million dollars a year.”
That may be true, but that’s not what Moe and Robinson are proposing. The “Joining Hands” proposal she authored doesn’t even come close to the contract between Heart of the Valley and Bozeman. Bozeman pays $10,850 dollars a month to the Heart of the Valley. That figure is from an article in the Bozeman Chronicle and it appears that’s the all-inclusive cost of sheltering impounded animals for the city of Bozeman.
That is a far cry from what Moe and Robinson are proposing for our city/Maclean partnership. It clearly states in Moe’s document that our city would be responsible for all services in its responsibility areas regardless of location. Those responsibility areas include retrieving stray animals, providing medical care, providing temporary housing and care and facilitating successful adoptions. Also included as city expenses are the insurance and legal services for the Maclean and insurance for the Maclean director. Looks to me like that’s the bulk of running the cost of the Maclean, as well as the current city shelter.
In addition, in an email between Moe, the Maclean folks and Robinson, Moe states, “My notes for next steps are: How to do the lease?”
So its sounds like, in addition to our city paying all expenses related to animals in both facilities and other Maclean costs, the city would also pay rent to the Maclean.
Either Moe and Robinson don’t understand what they’re proposing, which makes me question their intelligence, or they know exactly what they’re doing, which makes me question their integrity.”