More Overfield...sort of.

In reviewing this whole Susan Overfield dustup, I had an opportunity to talk with Jim Donahue, President of the Humane Society of Cascade County. Here is what Jim had to say about the bid letting process for running the Animal Shelter:

Knowing that our contract with the City was about to expire, we began contacting the City in January of 2007 in order to try to make arrangements for future operation of the Animal Shelter. Finally, toward the end of April 2007, the City decided to put out an RFP. The bids were due by May 18, 2007.

Two bids were submitted in a timely fashion, ours and the City of Great Falls Police Department’s. Commission action on the bids was scheduled for June 5 and June 7 through June 9 were designated as the deadlines for transition. In other words, assuming someone other than the Humane Society was to operate the shelter, the bid was to be awarded and the June 7 weekend would be utilized for transition.

On receiving the bids, the City did very little or nothing. June 5 came and went.

The Humane Society was trying to follow up with the City through the Clerk, Peggy Bourne, but we could learn nothing.

Finally, in last week’s City Commission meeting, the Commission voted on the consent agenda to extend our contract for another month. They did not talk to us first, and they did not give us written notice of this decision.

Once we learned of this, I wrote the City Manager, John Lawton, a letter proposing a new rate for this and any subsequent extensions. In response, I received a call from Police Chief, Corky Grove, and was invited to attend a meeting with the City.

I did so. At the meeting, Chief Grove stated that the City would like us (the Humane Society) to continue operating the shelter, but the ‘public has lost so much trust’ in our organization, there must be “significant changes.” After discussion, we learned that these significant changes would be a) resignation of the Humane Society’s entire Board of Directors, b) the City’s appointment of a new Board of Directors, and c) the City’s ongoing right to supervise and control the operation of the Animal Shelter.

The Humane Society has rejected this proposal, so the City will be operating without a contract on the Animal Shelter as of Sunday, July 1.

Finally, as an aside, several have suggested that Susan Overfield was a ‘puppet’ of the Humane Society last week, that we ‘put her up to’ the speech at the Commission. This is false. There was no encouragement of her whatsoever, not overt, and not with a wink and a nod.

Some at the City have made the comment that the Humane Society seems to be in disarray.

Who’s in disarray?

Sorry. That was snide. But if what Mr. Donahue says is true, the whole Overfield issue seems as though it might have been a somewhat predictable byproduct of a process that doesn't seem to have been handled very well.


Anonymous said...

Whaddaya EXPECT from a guy named Dorky! What's that? Oh wait. My bad. Seems his name isn't Dorky, it's Corky! Wow! That's even scary! What are the "terrists" gonna do when they hear that our chief's name is Corky?! Laugh I suspect. He needs to add sumthin' to it to make it sound more formidable, sumthin' like Corky al Badr! There you go. THAT ought'a scare them terrists!


Anonymous said...

Mary Jolley sent the notes, June 13th City Agenda Meeting, sent to the Tribune & TV the night of the City Commission meeting -

"These are some of the notes I took from the City Agenda Meeting on June !3th Wednesday
Mayor Stebbins," I know a non profit group but they are not yet up to running the new shelter."
She called the Humane Society Board "Half Ass." Mayor ,"We have a tremendous problem."
Com Diane Jovic Kuntz says, "But the Request for Proposals was not answered by, 'Donna's people'."
The Police chief made a bid to run the shelter, he said,"We have had many complaints, and he could show them." No one asked to see them.
Com Sandy says," I would hate to see the city get into another semi-private function." The Mayor snapped at her and said,"It is a city function."
Com. Diane Jovic Kuntz said, "Why don't we appoint 5 new people." Told she could not - it was an independent non-profit.

The mayor earlier had said that the city may require the "resignation of the whole Board."

But also told they could not do that they are not allowed it is independent."

The mayor and her group just get dirtier and dirtier.
Clean up the city

Anonymous said...

Please remember that not everyone in the City is 'dirty'. The majority are hard working citizens that live here and pay taxes and don't have any more say than anyone else.

Anonymous said...


"The majority are hard working citizens that live here and pay taxes and don't have any more say than anyone else."

How is that possible?

Isn't there a fraud, waste and abuse process to protect the honest whistle blowers in the city?

Troops are dying in Iraq so grown men and women in government can't stand on their own two feet to oppose or expose wrong doing in Great Falls?

Taxpayer dollars paying civil servant wages should not be thought of as Hush-Money.

Anonymous said...

Just do it in three minutes, Right?

Anonymous said...

Well, actually, Susan got in about an extra four seconds of editorial testimony as she was being dragged out the door, proving once again that free speech isn't always free! And really, our Queen, er.. I mean mayor, really should not be subjected to such indignities. After all, like Bush, she is the "decideress"! (is that proper English, or did I just commit a Bushism?)


WolfPack said...

LK- As to your "dorky" comment. This isn't the third grade play ground. Grow up. Insulting people over their name is just plain rude and childish.

Anonymous said...

You might think LK deserves to be treated with the same disrepectful attitudes he forces others to endure with his rants.

You might think his "terrist" tactics are less than formidable and at least laughable in a juvenile, third grade way.

You might think what others claim as offensive, childish and plain rude commentaries are indeed childish and plain rude.

You might very well think that, but I couldn't possibly comment.

(Cheers and thanks, Wolfpack.)

Anonymous said...

There are over 400 employees that work for the City of Great Falls that are 'tax payers' just like those here. Of those 400 employees approximately 3%-5% are the people that you are complaining about. The others are the workers that try to be a public servant by working their full 8 hours a day and doing it to the best of our abilities to make our children proud and have a nice place for everyone to live. They volunteer in the community. They raise their families and are dismayed in the same way you are.

Don't lump everybody into the 'waste and abuse' group. I have never prevented any honest whistle blower from doing just that.

I'm dismayed at what is going too, but I need my job to pay my bills and feed my family.

And I'm pretty sure the source of some of the documents that 'appear' that aren't public are from a city employee too. That doesn't sound like someone who is trying to stop this either.

Anonymous said...

When bureaucrats have power to silence their own, it is incredibly sad for taxpayers who deserve a validating voice.

Q: How do people manage to give up so much of their personal power?

A: One vote at a time...Unless they are denied the right to vote first.