Bibb County commissioners approved several items Tuesday designed to make work at the Animal Welfare department easier.
Most notably, commissioners approved Director Sarah Tenons request to add three additional animal control officers and an office manager to the shelters current staff.
Tenon initially tried to add the staff members to her fiscal 2014 budget this summer, but commissioners removed the request in order to cut as much from the countys overall budget as possible. Over the past couple of months, however, commissioners sought to restore the positions because the department was clearly understaffed.
Really, its disgraceful that we expect so much from a department and give it so few resources to do the job, Commissioner Lonzy Edwards said during an earlier committee meeting. I think (Tenon) has done a miraculous job to make a bad situation much, much better.
Commissioner Joe Allen, who often has criticized Tenon and the department in the past, agreed that additional workers were necessary, given Bibb Countys overall size.
Ive probably been one of the hardest critics, ... but Ive seen those guys working as hard as they can work trying to pick up all the stray animals, and they still cant get it all done, Allen said.
Tenon said adding the additional officers to the current roster of four will reduce overtime and allow the department some flexibility if an officer is out sick.
If we dont do this, were setting (Tenon) up for more criticism, commission Chairman Sam Hart said.
Tenon was originally seeking to add four officers, but she changed the fourth position to an office manager, citing additional paperwork with more animals being collected.
The commissioners also approved paying $38,960 to repair a truck in the department, as well as additional funds to purchase two new animal transports.
Also Tuesday, Edwards sought a resolution to change some of the language in the countys recently adopted spay/neuter ordinance that would allow permitting for hybrid breeders -- breeders who arent licensed by the American Kennel Club. Hybrid breeding is allowed under current Georgia law so long as the breeders limit themselves to two litters per year, not exceeding 19 animals.
Those permits are issued by the Animal Welfare department, Tenon said.
The language was included in the spay/neuter ordinance approved by the city, but it was omitted from the countys version of the ordinance. Edwards resolution adds the language so that the two ordinances can be combined under the new consolidated Macon-Bibb County government.