…the Humane Society provided two county employees with undercover cameras as a gratuity.The picture shows Ashley Paulk (center) motioning to VDT reporter David Rodock (foreground) as he directs the VDT to publish what he just said. Mechelle Sullivan is on the right, and County Manager Joe Pritchard looks on from left. Voting Commissioners Evans, Raines, and Powell are just visible between Paulk and Sullivan.
I want those two undercover cameras returned by my two employees, or there will be some administrative action.
I’m making this a public record.
If I don’t get those cameras back and the gratuity I’m going to pursue it through the Sheriff’s office.
Needs to be public record in the VDT.
The VDT did take dictation and publish that this morning, adding this quote from Chairman Paulk:
“It’s a gratuity. You can’t give a government employee something in order to get something in return. It’s not legal.”Other things are also not legal, yet never seem to be pursued.
Speaking of pursued, Chairman Paulk encountered a group of animal enthusiasts outside in the parking lot, including Mechelle Sullivan and some people associated with the Humane Society, and once again he demanded to get those cameras back. I know this because I saw it.
Just before his remarks from the podium about cameras, Chairman Paulk said:
If there’s anybody with the Humane Society — you know my background with sixteen years in law enforcement — can give me a sworn affidavit with any facts about this animal shelter, not accusations, but a sworn affidavit that they’ll stand up in court and swear to, beyond the shadow of a doubt, I’ll be ready to take them.Mechelle Sullivan responded:
When do you want to sit down and talk?
Here’s what he was reacting to. Continuing her address to the Lowndes County Commission about animal code enforcement issues, Mechelle Sullivan remarked:
“In my opinion the animal control should be headed up by someone who encourages to pursue cruelty and neglect, and who supports them in their efforts.”
David Rodock quoted her in the VDT this morning:
“With all due respect, I have never felt that Linda Patelski was right for that job. I’ve been shocked to learn of the allegations. I think it took guts for shelter employees to come forward to report wrongdoing knowing that they would put themselves in jeopardy to lose their jobs.”That’s apparently only on paper not online so far. As usual, I encourage anybody who doesn’t have a VDT subscription to buy one.
Mechelle Sullivan reminded Chairman Paulk that when he was sheriff she had talked to him about possibly putting the shelter and animal control under the sheriff’s office, which “I think would be wonderful.”
I believe at the very least the employees in question should be put on administrative leave in order for there to be an outside investigation. I believe with the right management the shelter could be the shining star in the community. … I would like to see management that is proactive, rather than reactive.She gave examples, “there are so many things we could be doing.” Then she asked the Chairman,
As a concerned citizen, I respectfully ask that you resolve this situation.His reaction was as quoted at the beginning of this blog post. Listen to the video for yourself.
So he wants the Humane Society to produce evidence beyond a shadow of a doubt, yet he threatens legal action against their current attempt to gather more evidence. Very interesting.
Here’s the video:
Return cameras or I’m going to pursue it through the Sheriff’s office —Ashley Paulk @ LCC 28 June 2011
Regular Session, Lowndes County Commission (LCC),
Valdosta, Lowndes County, Georgia, 28 June 2011.
Videos by Gretchen Quarterman for LAKE, the Lowndes Area Knowledge Exchange.
Update: appended is a more complete transcription by Gretchen. Some words are unclear, for example, did he say “pursue it” or “file a suit”. The meaning is clear either way. -jsq
In my opinion, the animal shelter should be headed up by someone who encourages the officers to pursue animal neglect and supports them in their efforts.
And with all due respect, I have never felt that Linda was the right person for that job.
Um, in fact in the past when Ashley was the Sheriff, we even talked putting animal control under the sheriff, that would be wonderful.
Um. In regards to the the shelter itself, I do have to say I’ve been shocked for the allegations. Um and to read everything that’s going on in the paper here.
And I was horrified and I know that Linda has been …
I think it is … of the shelter to employees … would put themselves in this strenuous awkward situation and in jeopardy of losing their jobs.
I believe at the very least, the employees in question should be put on administrative leave, in order for there to be an outside investigation.
I believe with the right management the shelter can be a shining star in this community. And I believe we can make a difference in the lives of animals and people, but I do believe it needs to be the right people in the right positions.
Um. I would like to see management that is proactive rather than reactive.
There are so many things that a shelter can work with rescue organizations, be out in the community… there are so many things we can do.
And I believe that shelter should be a safe haven for animals, in which it will be their last days, many of them beloved pets…
As a concerned citizen, respectfully ask that you ask that you resolve this situation.
Ms. Sullivan, I’ll give you a couple of comments. We’ve know each other a long time.
If there is anybody with the humane society, you know my background, 16 years in law enforcement, that will give me a sworn affidavit, any facts about the animal shelter, not accusations, a sworn affidafit that will stand up in court. Swear to it. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I’ll be glad to take it.
Mechelle: We need to sit down and talk.
Ashley: But I’m not going to fire someone on accusations.
And also, the Humane Society provided two county employees with undercover cameras. That’s a gratuity. That’s a very dangerous situation. I want those two undercover cameras returned by my employees, or there will be some administrative action. …
Mechelle: Like I said, I’m not speaking for the Humane Society.
Ashley: I’m just saying, I’m on the public record. … I want to clarify
Mechelle: I’m just speaking based upon my experiences over the years.
Ashley: If I don’t get those cameras back, that gratuity I’m going to file a suit with the Sheriff’s office. Whoever in this room with the Humane Society needs to be aware. It needs to be public record in the VDT….
Mechelle: By the same token….
Ashley: If anyone will make a sworn affidavit, I will take it.
Mechelle: Well, I’ll call you.
Ashley: It needs to be facts. Thank you.