Susan Overfield

Susan Overfield is the woman who was forcibly removed from the City Commission meeting last week. She emailed me a copy of what she was reading when her 'time' expired. She is allowing me to reprint it here.

I do not know if what she says is true, and I am certainly not adopting her words as my own. For the sake of discussion, though, I thought it made sense to at least publicize what caused all the fuss to begin with. Since we're all talking about it, let's see what she had to say.

So, without further ado...

It is my personal opinion that what is transpiring here this evening is a sub-rosa or behind-the-scenes agenda in which specific people are manipulating the bid and awarding process for personal gain, closed corporation tactics and ignoring fiscal responsibility and animal welfare.

Upon investigation I was surprised to discover that there is not one single person involved with the current shelter and bid or award process that is employed by the city.

I did, however, find the following, which is very cozy:

Mary Willmarth– Foundation involvement – husband Mark is city employee

Peggy Bourne– city employee – husband Rick, Foundation involvement

John Gilbert – Foundation involvement – former city commissioner

Melanie Lattin – Foundation involvement – city employee

Bob James – Foundation involvement – litigation for the city possibly

Gloria LaMott – Foundation involvement – previous shelter board member, resigned before asked to quit, has a rabid anti-shelter recent history, is a close, personal friend of Mayor Stebbins, has been heard on at least two separate occasions to say she is “planning a career change and will become a ‘Director’ of a new city job” and she’s “planning on heading a new position opening in the city managing animals.”

Donna Stebbins – Foundation involvement – on the bid award committee – close personal friend with Gloria LaMott, was heard yesterday after an inspection of the current shelter to say, “I’ll do everything in my power to make sure the shelter’s not awarded the contract.”

And while I have not had time today to find a link between the police department and the Foundation, I have no doubt it exists and will be discovered.

To my knowledge the city, during the run of this expiring contract with the shelter, has never allocated an increase in funds in order to keep up with general rising costs which would negatively affect the running of the shelter.

This would constitute negligence and/or cruelty in the care of the animals housed at the current shelter as well as causing otherwise adoptable animals to be euthanized for lack of necessary maintenance funding.

San Diego (I spoke with Dr. Goldschmidt), Santa Fe (I spoke with Dwayne Adams) and Denver (I spoke with an original foundation member Mrs. Brown), to name just three, all allocated a percentage of their fundraising monies for new the shelter to be earmarked for the use of the shelter being replaced in order to guarantee quality care of the animals in the old shelter until such time as the new shelter was up and running and the animals were relocated.

The Animal Foundation of Great Falls has done no such thing. As a matter of fact it has required the current shelter to make donations to their fund raising with no regard as to the hardships it causes the current shelter and animals. That is not animal welfare, it is self-aggrandizement.

All this put together leads me to one conclusion. The bid award is co-opted and possibly already predetermined by an unseen committee which is interested in assuring the Foundation complete control and the city the ability to circumvent or ignore actual bid and awarding procedures. The Directorship of the new shelter seems to be a foregone conclusion if Ms. LaMotts statements are to be taken as truth.

Donna Stebbins should remove herself from the City Commision and the bid award procedure, as well as anyone else with city employment and Foundation involvement, due to conflict of interest. Anyone with dual interest of city employment/Foundation involvement should be considered ineligible to apply for employment in the new shelter.

It occurred to me that the city may have planned at some future point to attempt to claim ignorance of the current conditions of and at the shelter and once the bid is awarded and the Foundation can step in, the city can then pass a bond onto the public to underwrite the Foundation’s cost in running the new shelter.

Fiscal responsibility in non-existent here. Award a bid to a higher priced entity without background, infra-structure or experience in shelter management, possibly pass a bond onto the public for the running costs of the new shelter, which is non-profit, and then run the future shelter as a closed corporation with only select individuals being awarded work, contracts, and employment positions.

The bid and award process is in place, dates have been established…meet them and award the bid to the lowest bidder as it should be. The HSCC [Humane Society of Cascade County-Ed.] has no financial or legal blemish on its record of running the current shelter and as such, there is no reason NOT to award the bid to them without extension.

If I am wrong, provide me proof and I’ll recant publicly. If, however you merely wish to state, or infer, that I am making unfounded accusations, you bring your proof and I’ll bring mine and we’ll meet at the newspaper and let the facts be public.


Anonymous said...

Don't count on the Trib getting your proof correctly in the paper if it makes it there at all, Susan.

Please, post your documentation here. You've a better chance at being fairly treated.

Did you submit a written copy of your testimony for the record?

mca said...

Most of the proof exists in public records, minutes and/or notes of meetings and statements made in front of more than a single individual, as well as e-mails sent to various parties. However, as for my allegations that there are behind-the-scenes machinations and plans, Mary Jolley also was privy to hearing some of this discussed at a first meeting the day this all came down. There was a first meeting and she gave her notes to the Trib (it's my understanding as I received a copy, also) and Stuart Lewin was there until the mayor demanded he leave, and many issues were discussed and decided upon at that time, including, but not limited to the mayor's "people". This, then, was followed by the 'public' work session, which I only caught the final 10 minutes of and didn't seem to be actual work. Then came the evening meeting.

I don't expect it to show in the Trib, they were given a copy on the 20th by me, as were the TV ations....Mary Jolley has submitted her substantiating information to the same entities and nothing has come of it.

As for submitting a copy for the record, my copy along with other papers were unceremoniously taken from me and have yet to be returned...or found.

Anonymous said...

First I want to say that I am not a fan of Susan Overfield. However I do believe that she is correct. In my opinion there has been something fishy about the foundation for quite some time. At one point in time, I believe and I could be wrong, however some of the foundation folks are also Peta supporters. A little research on the HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) will also show Peta involvement, the foundation and the hsus have a good working relationship. Peta has no place in Montana, check the web for anti peta sites, it's interesting.
I think that Susan Overfield, smells a rat and just wanted everyone to know. I also think that there are a number of problems with the existing humane society and that the HS of cascade county suffered a great loss when Chuck resigned as the HSCC director.
In my opinion, I think that the City Council has overstepped it's bounds, in more than just this issue. Donna Stebins has done a great deal of dis-service to the city of Great Falls. I'd like to know what happened to their accountablity.

Anonymous said...

Tried to search the city web page and found it was pretty easy and pretty fast. Emphasis added.



ITEM Animal Control Management Agreement

INITIATED BY Great Falls Police Department

ACTION REQUESTED Award Management Agreement

PREPARED & PRESENTED BY Robert G. Jones, Chief of Police

REVIEWED & APPROVED BY Robert G. Jones, Chief of Police

RECOMMENDATION: Approve the following motion:

MOTION:I move the City Commission award a five year Animal Management Agreement as submitted by the Great Falls Humane Society, and the City Manager be authorized to execute the necessary contract

SYNOPSIS:The Great Falls Humane Society has managed animal control, kennel functions for the past ten (10) years for the City of Great Falls. The Animal Control function prior to the Humane Society were provided by the Park and Recreation Department and for a period of time by the Great Falls Police Department.


The City of Great Falls has enjoyed a good working relationship with the Great Falls Humane Society
for ten (10) years. They have purchased vehicles and equipment necessary to provide professional
animal service. In addition they have purchased an incinerator of animals and built additions to the shelter to accommodate the appropriate housing of impounded animals

Attachment : Copy of Financial Statements April 30, 2002 and 2001
(Not available online)

Neighborhood Council 6
March 2, 2005

Sally Cerny spoke on the purpose and mission of the Animal Foundation which was formed in 2002. The Foundation is attempting to raise funds to build a new animal shelter building. She had power point presentation and brochures. She asked for persons supporting the Humane Society, the Animal Shelter and /or fund raising efforts to come forward. She outlined plans for the new shelter to provide humane care, reduce animal stress and facilitate successful adoption of animals. The new shelter would include a dog park. Sally and Chuck answered questions.

DATE November 8, 2006






But....according to this:


.... Early in 2003, the Humane Society Foundation was formed to, among other tasks, raise funds for a modernized new animal shelter. Community Facilities-23...

Humane Society Animal Control Shelter
In 1992, the City contracted with the Humane Society of Cascade County to transfer animal
control operations from the Police Department to the Humane Society. The City annually
provides financial support to the Humane Society for responding to service calls and operating
the Shelter that is located on 25th Avenue Northeast near 10th Street Northeast. While this
facility serves all area residents, the community has outgrown it. Early in 2003, the Humane
Society Foundation was formed to, among other tasks, raise funds for a modernized new animal

So I looked at 2004...


[ Staff Report 4 ] [ Resolution 9461 ]

Assistant City Manager Cheryl Patton reported that City staff and community members expressed concerns with the current animal control situation and the need was identified to conduct a comprehensive review of animal control ordinances, fees, and related issues. At the Commission Work Session on February 1, 2004, Chuck Tourtillott, Director of the Humane Society of Cascade County, presented a proposal to create a Blue Ribbon Committee to research these concerns.

Resolution 9461 provides for the creation of this Blue Ribbon Committee and specifies the committee submit a progress report within two months that includes a schedule outlining its work and when a final written report with recommendations would be submitted to the Commission for consideration. Membership of the committee would include members from: the Police Department, Park and Recreation Department, Humane Society of Cascade County, Cascade County Sheriff's Office, at-large community member, a veterinarian, and a member from a Neighborhood Council.

Chuck Tourtillott, Director of the Humane Society of Cascade County, stated that this process was long overdue and that the Blue Ribbon Committee would be effective.

GeeGuy said...

And I think I was on that "Blue Ribbon Committee." I don't recall discussing bids from the Police Department, though, just fees for at-large animals, etc.

So help me out here since I am new to the whole animal control thing...how are they related?

Anonymous said...

Related issues...

Did the Blue Ribbon Panel foresee the possibility that the Human Society might be kicked to the curb in favor of the Police Dept taking over or putting a bid against the Humane Society?

Maybe ideas or suggestions from past meetings caused someone to think that since the PD dealt with things before the Humane Society, why not again?

I am just trying to think through possibilities as to why 300k+ bid might make sense to the city.

Since there is nothing to reflect all sides of discussions in those meetings or how people on the panel might link into the allegations Susan has made, it might be worth bringing up for attendees to recall and dismiss as appropriate.

GeeGuy said...

First, I never really did understand why we were called a "Blue Ribbon Committee."

Second, I don't recall any discussion about the City taking over the shelter. But then again, I was a little late, and was focused more on the fee issue.

My recollection, though, is that the management of the shelter, while it may have been discussed, was not the primary topic of the conversation. (Mayor Stebbins was not present when I attended the meeting.)

Anonymous said...

"The City of Great Falls has enjoyed a good working relationship with the Great Falls Humane Society for ten (10) years."

So what changed to produce opposition to the Humane Society?

Please, details/observations anyone?

Anonymous said...

Only thing as near as I can tell is mayordonna's pal gloria lamott NEEDED A GOOG CITY JOB! Hey, if that ain't economic development, what is? I mean, just THINK about all that extra money gloria will have that will circulate through the city! And heck, maybe the coppers can practice roughin' up DOGS while not whompin' on the citizenry! They gotta stay sharp you know.


Anonymous said...

I am sure the PD will find creative ways to fill the kitty and stoke the ovens if they get in charge of the shelter.

Plenty of homeland insecurity funds available for new gear to help capture terrorists like Fluffy and Fido too.

Anonymous said...


The Blue Ribbon Committee was established to review and change the Animal Ordinances. Then the Fee Committee was established to set the fees for impounds, multiple animal permits and such with the changes to the Ordinances. The city had a great relationship with the Humane Society untill last year when Chuck left. It involves past board members that declaired war on the Humane Society board and swore to take it down. Since the contract was up this year war was waged and it is ulimatly the animals and staff that are suffering.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit at a loss as to what I can say without getting myself into trouble! I think the anon person who wrote at 2:48 hit the nail on the head, but it wasn't all past board members, just a select few. Well, and more than just that. The animals are the ones that are suffering, left in an organization & board that is struggling to fight lies, rumours and inuendos. There are some people, in my opinion, that thrive in an enviroment such as this . . . and I do believe her name has been mentioned, quite a bit.
Also, the Humane Society's correct name is the Humane Society of Cascade County, not Great Falls, unless I've missed something.

Anonymous said...

Geeguy, I must admit that I like your site. Your posts are great, and most of your commenters have something to say. And ya know, I never would have ventured here if the mayor and city council hadn't screwed up big time by dragging Susan outta the room. And in fact, I think that many of us out here in GF would NOT have paid the least bit of attention to city government at all except for the proposed coal fired plant. Nice of these cockroaches to shine the light on themselves for us. People such as myself will be watching closely now.......and reading your site.


Anonymous said...

RE: Anon32 - "Also, the Humane Society's correct name....."

No, I think the confusion lies in the city webpage documentation I cut and pasted...there is not consistency in how it is referred to plus the 2002 notation of a different organization, Animal Foundation of Great Falls, which seemed, at one time, to be working with Humane Society of Cascade County.

I'm confused but interested since I adopted my faithful dog from there several years ago.

Anonymous said...

Punching a cop is a great way to prove your conspiracy theories, Susan.

And good luck pleading 'not guilty' when there's a half-dozen or more creditable witnesses to your shameful actions.

Anonymous said...

Wow! half a million for that! Susan new that you have a time alotment when you go over you sit down and shut up!! and let the next person summit there testimony!! If that is not enough for you and you feel you can do more than why don't you run for a position of power with in the city! Hope she donated that money to the animal foundation! Greedy!!