The Guilford County Animal Shelter may be about to get an infusion of new employees that Guilford County Animal Services Director Jorge Ortega has been pleading for for a long time.

At the Thursday, Sept. 19 Guilford County Board of Commissioners meeting, the board will vote on whether to add six new positions at the shelter.

Guilford County Animal Services is requesting the new positions “to support operations and improve the security/safety of staff and patrons.”

One of the requested positions is an additional shelter veterinarian estimated to cost the county $81,436 annually. That move would be “to provide additional medical treatment capacity and 7 days/week medical coverage.”

According to the information provided to the commissioners for the Sept. 19 meeting, this additional position is expected to reduce the amount that the shelter spends for outside medical services – especially what it spends on the evaluation and treatment of animals that are brought to the shelter.

Another position would be a customer service manager at an estimated cost of $58,563 annually.  That employee would provide “additional management coverage for customer service functions including adoption and checkout as well as opening and closing the cashier stations, assisting other staff, and generally ensuring a high-quality customer experience.”

Currently, according to Ortega, other employees must now work a lot of overtime in order to ensure coverage when the shelter is open to the public.

The agenda item also calls for one senior office specialist at a cost of $47,926 a year to provide administrative office support for shelter staff.  That person would assist with tracking, receiving and managing invoices such as those for adoption fees or for Animal Control citations.

Another position on the table is a “Foster/Placement Coordinator,” which would run the county $44,704 annually to improve placement and management of animals in foster care. According to information provided to the commissioners by county staff, currently, foster availability exceeds the capacity of shelter staff to place and manage animals.

Shelter staff is also requesting that the Board of Commissioners approve a contracted security guard at the shelter at a cost of $46,679 a year.

Lastly, Ortega is requesting one animal cleaning technician position to provide additional animal care and cleaning.  The cost of this additional cleaning position would be covered by reclassifying an existing shelter operations manager position to an animal cleaning technician position – which would amount to a net addition of two animal cleaning technicians with no additional taxpayer money required.

The cost of adding these positions would largely be offset by savings the county would see by reducing the cost of contract services such as those it has with Malachi House, a non-profit the county currently pays about $300,000 a year.

In the end, the county anticipates the move would cost just over $90,000 annually to taxpayers.