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County picks top two for Animal Control jobs
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Warren County Animal Control should have a new director by the middle of next week. Interviews were held Thursday night by members of the county’s Health and Welfare Committee. The field of seven finalists was narrowed to the top two contenders.
Six potential candidates were interviewed. A seventh candidate showed up for the interview, but left before her name was called for the interview with committee members.
 Kim Pettrey was the top scorer and will be offered the director’s position contingent on a favorable background check. Pettrey is currently Animal Control’s only employee. She has been running the facility since July when former director Tammy Webb was put on administrative leave and subsequently fired after marijuana was found growing on Animal Control property. Pettrey has over 10 years experience working with wildlife in Florida prior to working at Animal Control.
Second-highest scorer, Frank Locke, impressed the interviewers with his past experience including over 10 years working at Animal Control in Denton, Texas with some of that time as Animal Control director. Locke also has experience as a sheriff’s deputy. Locke is a pastor who moved to McMinnville to start a Cowboy Church.
Locke, however, applied for the director’s position. He said it would not be feasible for him to leave his current job to take a part-time position.
After the votes were tallied, County Executive John Pelham and the committee talked about the possibility of making the second-in-command position at Animal Control a full-time position.
“I must verify the money is in the budget before offering him a full-time position. Even if we do have enough for this year, we will have to ask for more money next year,” said Pelham.
Candidates will have to pass a motor vehicle review. Commissioners voted in September all applicants seeking employment with the county after Jan. 1, 2013 in a job category that requires operation of county vehicles must successfully pass a MVR conducted by the state that demonstrates an acceptable driving record. Since Animal Control employees will have access to a county vehicle during employment, Pelham wants to conduct the MVRs before hiring.
Pelham also wants background checks in hand before employing anyone to possibly avoid what happened after codes enforcer Jason Simmons was hired in September. Simmons interviewed Sept. 4 and began work Sept. 6.
Simmons’ background check, which was run after he was hired, included one conviction for domestic assault, a Class A misdemeanor, and three other arrests in which he pled not guilty.
During a meeting to discuss the past legal troubles of Simmons, Policy and Personnel Committee chairman Ken Martin suggested in the future the top three contenders for a position must have background checks prior to being officially hired.
“Background checks are required, but they need to be done from now on before a person is hired,” said Martin.
“In retrospect, we should say hiring is conditional to passing the background check,” said Commissioner George Smartt.
Candidates were rated on their answers to seven questions. Totals were tallied and the candidates were ranked one through seven.