Saturday, December 21, 2019

City Won't Ask PAWS for Compliance Information for Public

The City of San Angelo said it had no documents available in response to the following public information request (however it did answer the first two questions as seen in graph above):

“Please provide information on the animal shelter's compliance with the mandatory spay/neuter ordinance during 2019 (January to September). Please indicate:

1. Total animals adopted
2. How many were already altered before arriving at the shelter?
3. How many adopted animals had their spay/neuter surgery prior to leaving the animal shelter?
4. How many adopted animals left with an appointment for spay/neuter surgery?
5. Of those that left with an appointment, what was the wait time between leaving the shelter and the spay/neuter appointment (minimum, maximum and average)?
6. How many animals in this category made their appointment and were successfully spayed/neutered as required by city ordinance?

Assistant City Manager Michael Dane said the city would prepare such a report at the September 2019 Animal Shelter Advisory Committee Meeting.”
This issue arose in January 2018 prior to the city expanding their arrangement with adoption contractor Concho Valley PAWS.  Staff dodged Council questions on compliance with the city's spay/neuter ordinance.

Mayor Brenda Gunter asked for statistics on missed spay/neuter appointments.  Morgan started off with calling this rare, then elevated it to occasional.  She said the city has a "tremendous trust in this process where there's a reconciliation.  We know who is outstanding for their surgery and who is not."  One might expect Morgan to have used data from this reconciliation to answer the Mayor's statistics question. 
It arose again September 2018.

Animal Shelter Director Morgan Chegwidden informed City Councilman Tommy Hiebert in January that the shelter released approximately 500 unaltered dogs to PAWS or other approved facilities.  The recipients would be responsible for spaying/neutering the unaltered pets.  The City of San Angelo adopted a mandatory spay/neuter ordinance in May 2017. 
Morgan's numbers to Councilman Hiebert indicate the city paid for spay/neuter surgery for 188 of the 688 unaltered dogs adopted from April through November 2017.  That's a mere 27.3% of the unaltered dogs processed and adopted by the shelter during that period.
I raised the concern about the city hiding behind a contractor at the last Animal Services Advisory Committee (September 2019).  I shared that the city did that very thing when I requested compliance data (in late 2017).  Two years ago the City said it did not have the documents (although their external contractor PAWS did).

Animal Services has provided an update that this (rabies certificate) is not a document of the city – an external vendor provides these services.
ASAC member and Concho Valley PAWS Director Jenie Wilson said they have that information and that city data used in my prior reporting was inaccurate.  I said all the more reason for the city to compel PAWS to provide basic compliance information when requested by the public.

The city has the right to compel PAWS to provide requested information at any time but it chooses not to do so.  I suggested Mrs. Wilson use the city's juggernaut public information department and her great ties with area media to broadcast PAWS compliance data with city ordinance and state law for the public to review. That has not happened over the last two years.

The City of San Angelo has defended PAWS in the past by implying it had data.  PAWS Director Jenie Wilson stated to a city board they had the information .  Yet neither party can or will share.  It's a two year journey to find the most basic compliance information.  When will it end?

Update 1-15-20:  Standard contract language for the City of San Angelo states: "PUBLIC RECORDS: Contractor understands that the public shall have access, at all reasonable times, to all documents and information pertaining to City contracts, and agrees to allow access by City and the public to all documents subject to disclosure under applicable law. Contractor’s failure or refusal to comply with the provisions of this section shall be considered a material breach of the Contract and may result in the immediate termination of the Contract by City."

In addition "City may, at reasonable times during the term hereof, inspect Contractor’s work, worksite and facilities and perform such tests, as City deems reasonably necessary, to determine whether the goods or services required to be provided by Contractor under the Contract conform to the Contract terms and applicable codes and regulations."  Compliance with spay/neuter ordinance fits under this provision.

"OWNERSHIP OF DOCUMENTS: Contractor understands and agrees that any information, document, report or any other material whatsoever which is given by City to Contractor or which is otherwise obtained or prepared by Contractor pursuant to or under the terms of the Contract is and shall at all times remain the property of City. Contractor agrees not to use any such information, document, report or material for any other purpose whatsoever without the written consent of City, which may be withheld or conditioned by City in its sole discretion."

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Well.......just like you would tell anyone else.Tell them to produce the data, give them a deadline. If deadline is not met, jail time.