Apparently, two top-ranking Guilford County Animal Shelter employees who resigned suddenly last month made a big impression on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners.
One of those who resigned did so publically at a commissioners meeting and said he resigned because of how understaffed the shelter is. Guilford County Animal Services Director Jorge Ortega has been making that argument for months.
On Thursday, July 18, the Guilford County commissioners held a closed session “for the purpose of consulting with the county attorney and to discuss certain personnel matters.” When the board came out of that closed session they took one action: They voted unanimously to approve two part-time, non-benefited, animal care technician positions that are to be funded through existing county dollars.
Guilford County Attorney Mark Payne said later that the positions were “slots,” which, he added, means that more than one person could help fill each newly created job.
It was a highly unusual move by the board due to the timing. The unanimous vote came right after the board’s adoption of the 2019-2020 county budget in late June. The reason the board almost never adds positions immediately after a new budget is adopted is that, if the commissioners feel like new positions are needed, the budget is the place to add them. But, in this case, the board adopted a budget and then added the two positions.
At the Thursday, June 20 Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting – the same meeting at which the 2019-2020 county budget was adopted – the first speaker from the floor was Guilford County Animal Shelter Manager Darryl Kosciak, who announced from the podium that he was resigning due to a lack of adequate staffing at the shelter. He said that the staffing issue hadn’t been addressed in the budget that the board was adopting at that meeting, so, he said, he felt compelled to step down.
Kosciak also told the board that, when he took the job, he was promised that the staffing issue would be dealt with by adding new positions, but he said that hadn’t happened and wasn’t happening again this year in the 2019-2020 budget.
Just over a week later, on Saturday, June 29, Nancy Fauser, the outreach and volunteer coordinator for the shelter, also turned in her resignation.