There hasn’t been a lot of willingness on the part of either county administration or the Guilford County Board of Commissioners to add new staff to the county’s workforce this year; however, one county department seeking new positions may get some love from the commissioners – the Guilford County Animal Services Department, which runs the Animal Shelter.

At a Guilford County Board of Commissioners work session on Monday, June 10, Guilford County Commissioner Justin Conrad said that the county’s Animal Shelter needs help and he wants to see those needs addressed.

Conrad told his fellow commissioners that he’d like the board to consider some of the requests by Animal Services Director Jorge Ortega, who has asked for the county’s 2019-2020 budget to include more staff at the shelter so that the animals get more attention and care each day.

“First and foremost, we’re seeing incredible leaps and bounds in that department,” Conrad said, “and I think we all agree and, to sustain the continued good services, he’s requested some support from us.”

Conrad also argued that, currently, there’s a lot of overtime being paid to shelter workers due to the staff shortage, and he said that, while it may not completely cover the cost of hiring new workers, those overtime savings would certainly cut into the cost of adding the new positions.

Other commissioners also seemed amenable to the idea, however, they wanted more information about the county’s contract with the 501(c)3 non-profit Malachi House, which supplies much of the shelter’s labor needs.  A new contract with Malachi House is currently being negotiated.

Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Alan Branson said that getting the details of that new contract worked out might provide more clarity as to how many, if any, new positions are needed at the shelter.

The Board of Commissioners didn’t make any decision on the matter at the work session but they are expected to do so when the board adopts a budget, likely on Thursday, June 20.