Animal Shelter Transfer Needs Legal Wordsmith
Tuesday night the Manhattan City Commission passed an Agreement with
Riley County to Transfer Administrative Control of
the T. Russell Reitz Regional Animal Shelter from the Riley County-Manhattan Health Department to the City of Manhattan.
Before the transfer takes place the County will have to pass an updated agreement.
The Riley County - Manhattan Health Department thought the agreement
placed too much liability upon it's Board. The
Commission received a letter from the Health Board in a backroom meeting just before the regular meeting. The Health
Board pointed out that the agreement called for: "The Board shall be responsible for all costs, expenses and damages
regarding claims, arising in tort."
The Board, City and County are in court with a former Animal Shelter
employee. If the employee were to win the case and a
judgement, the Board would have been liable.
The Health Board had $100,000 in a separate animal shelter account but
gave $80,000 to help the City build a new addition.
Now they only have $20-25 thousand.
The Health Board said they have concerns that they would have to pay
a judgement with money designated for women and
The Commission approved the change. Here is a memo given to the Commission:
The pending renovation and expansion project proposed for the T. Russell
Reitz Regional Animal Shelter has brought to the
foreground many issues which need to be addressed by the City of Manhattan and users of the facility. One of those issues is
the administration of the facility.
At a City Commission Policy Session on September 14, 1999, the Manhattan
City Commission reviewed some
recommendations regarding the administration of the T. Russell Reitz Regional Animal Shelter. One of those
recommendations was for the City of Manhattan to assume administrative control of the Animal Shelter. At that meeting, the
City Commission gave direction to City Administration to pursue bringing the administration of the Animal Shelter back under
the City of Manhattan. The targeted date for this transfer in administration is March 1, 2000.
Since the September 14, 1999, meeting, City Administration has prepared
a new City/County agreement regarding the
administration of the facility.
Attached is the existing 1989 agreement between the City of Manhattan
and Riley County concerning the administration of
the Animal Shelter. That agreement specifies that the Riley County-Manhattan Health Department would administer the
The new proposed agreement prepared by City Administration provides for:
termination of the prior agreement;
administration of the facility by the City of Manhattan;
transfer of all equipment, supplies, inventory, and other Animal Shelter property to the City of Manhattan;
transfer of employees involved in the Animal Shelter operations to the City of Manhattan; and
transfer of liabilities (outstanding bills and future liability for operations of the facility) to the City of Manhattan.
City Administration has discussed the transition with Riley County-Manhattan
Health Department officials in depth and also
has met with the employees of the Animal Shelter to discuss all aspects of the transition, including the transfer to the City's
benefits and pay system. Discussions with the employees have been very positive.
On December 10, 1999, City Administration presented the issue of the
transition to the Riley County-Manhattan Board of
Health along with a draft proposed agreement. A motion of support for the transfer of administrative authority of the Animal
Shelter and animal patrol function to the City was unanimously approved. The Board expressed concerns at the meeting
regarding transfer of liabilities, such as outstanding bills and future liabilities, and the lack of that issue being addressed in the
draft agreement. In an attempt to address the Board's concerns, as well as those expressed by Riley County recently, the
agreement has been modified, as indicated in its last paragraph. This revised proposed agreement, which is the version
provided in this packet, will be placed on the February 25, 2000 agenda for the Board of Health to consider.
On December 27, 1999, City Administration met with the RileyCounty Commission
about the agreement and a pending
service agreement with the City of Manhattan. City Administration again met with the Riley County Commission on February
10, 2000, on the issue. The Riley County Commission voted to place the consideration of this agreement and a service
agreement on their Monday, February 14, 2000, agenda for final action. City Administration will have an update for the
Commission by Monday regarding the action of the County. It is anticipated that the agreement will be approved by the
County at that time. However, should the agreement not be approved, this item will need to be postponed to a future City
Commission agenda. It should be noted that the County has been exceptionally cooperative and discussions with them have
been very productive.
As an update, City Administration has been meeting with all users of
the facility regarding service agreements with the City of
Manhattan for use of the facility and a proposed fee structure. City Administration will be bringing those agreements and a
proposed fee structure to be approved by the City Commission over the next several months.
It appears the Commission has the following alternatives concerning the issue at hand. The Commission may:
Authorize City Administration to finalize and the Mayor and City Clerk
to execute an agreement between the City of
Manhattan, Riley County and the Riley County-Manhattan Board of Health, transferring administrative authority of the T.
Russell Reitz Regional Animal Shelter to the City of Manhattan.
Do not grant authorization.
Modify or develop alternatives if other concerns or factors arise to meet the needs of the Commission.
Table the request.
City Administration recommends the City Commission approve the transfer
of administrative authority of the T. Russell Reitz
Regional Animal Shelter to the City of Manhattan. It appears that this is in the best interest of the City given that the City of
Manhattan owns the Animal Shelter facility and that various efficiencies can be gained by having the Shelter under the
administration of the City.