Monday, September 21, 2015

State Run Dog Control - The Bidding Process Begins

First off, I realize it's been a while since I last posted.  That's in part because some of us are working on getting a package together for a federal complaint as discussed previously, which will be on behalf of FSAC and the taxpayers of our state.  It's been recommended that we have it ready to go out as soon as the winning bid is declared for sheltering of pets under the new state run animal control,The state plan will have ACO's and other personnel hired by the state (yes, at substantially higher costs than they would have cost under FSAC), with the state then outsourcing the sheltering the pets they pick up and which is currently up for bid.

Obviously if the costs go up substantially, they will have made our case stronger regarding collusion, but even if they can maintain it at the current level in the short term, we will still proceed since the Austin model shows that it can be increases year after year that also results. Fortunately, since there were alot of emails that help our case that were found in the Wasserbach emails, we also needed a tool to place them in order so we can just printout and add the Exhibit designations within our complaint.

The timeline is posted and publicly available to anyone who wants a glimpse into what took place here in Delaware.  If  you go into each post and click on Find Out More, you can read the pertinent emails.

While we have posted most of the applicable emails, there are a few that we decided not to because we didn't want to give the other side too much information to create their lies around, but even without them the emails included paint a pretty worrisome case of how government works in Delaware.  I highly recommend Tiki-Toki for those in other communities facing similar issues who want to create a timeline to help your case.

While I'm sure those involved in the collusion will state that FSAC can bid on sheltering if they choose to, but given the emails that we've seen in the past and the recent emails that showed the states Office of Animal Welfare sent out information about the new animal control officer jobs (which are only posted for a week) to just the 3 shelters that were involved in the earlier collusion, it's not too difficult to see that FSAC would never be treated fairly if a number of shelters were to be involved in sheltering of the animals.  Really, why would a state official send the jobs to the 3 shelters who don't have ACO's, and not send it to the one who has ACO's losing their jobs due to the political games? Fortunately, FSAC's executive director was watching out for his employees by monitoring the posting, and those ACO's who wanted to were able to at least apply.

The Budget Epilogue Discussion - Fantasy & Fiction

Since I last posted, as noted above, the state did pass the epilogue language to the budget bill that we all expected.  At last Senator Patricia Blevins has accomplished her goal of getting First State Animal Center (FSAC) out of dog control so she and her friends can drive up the cost of dog control as they had hoped to do from the time they passed CAPA, and had so blatantly discussed in 2011 with her group of shelter friends and their attempt to put FSAC "underwater".  CAPA on it's own couldn't do the job, so further legislation to put FSAC to the curb was needed by Blevins, and that was the why the recent epilogue language was used, to make sure that there wasn't a means for public comment.

Below was Senator Blevins reply to questions regarding the added language to the Budget Bill from Senator Colin Bonini who did have some concerns about the cost, about the people that would be put out of work, and about the wasted resources of equipment that has been purchased by FSAC to do dog control.

There was clearly alot of fiction coming out of Senator Blevin's mouth, and if she were Pinocchio, her nose would have rounded the earth a number of times.

First Senator Blevins stated that the Animal Welfare Task Force recommended this move of dog control to the state.  There in fact was no such recommendation, There was discussion about the state taking back the contracting as it was under DNREC in previous years, rather than having to manage multiple contracts across the state, but the taking over of the enforcement aspect of dog control was hatched in a back room with her shelter buddies so the Senator could help them drive up the prices and spread the wealth, and was not one of the recommendations listed in the task force final report.

Lie number two, was that ALL the vans/trucks purchased by FSAC had around 300,000 miles on them, implying they were on their last leg.  Below is the actual detail for that issue.
The mileage of the Dog Control vehicles are as follows as provided by FSAC:
1-2007 truck with 300k miles
3-2007 trucks with 230k, 143k, 152k miles
1-2008 truck with 122k miles
3-2010 trucks with 100k, 171k, 90k miles
1-2011 truck with 15k miles
6-2013 trucks with 15k, 15k, 15k, 15k, 10k, 10k, miles
2-2014 trucks with 5k miles
1-2015 truck with 5 k miles
I feel comfortable in calling it a lie because if Senator Blevins didn't know the truth then she should have just answered "I don't know", but instead she proceeded to tell Senator Bonini this fiction straight to his face and probably figured that was what he and all the other senators in the room wanted to hear for justification.

Amusingly, less than 2 weeks earlier she had accused a lobbyist of false testimony, and made the threat that he could be charged with a felony. By most accounts, nobody else thought he was attempting to lie. But given Senator Blevins past email conversations regarding putting FSAC "underwater", it's difficult to believe that her lies regarding the move of dog control to the state weren't intentional.
"Senate President Pro Tem Patricia Blevins, D-Elsmere, said that NRA lobbyist Richard Armitage could have faced felony charges for his allegedly false testimony about closed door negotiations involving the gun rights group and the Attorney General's office over language regarding the marketing of firearm safety programs. 
Blevins, who did not name Armitage on the Senate floor, said she had no intent to pursue charges.
But her accusation caused a minor furor among Republican and Democrat lawmakers and threatened to overshadow the bill, which is spearheaded by Delaware Attorney General Matt Denn. The bill ultimately passed the chamber 15-4 with support from Democrats and Republicans." - Top Senate Democrat slams NRA lobbyist, /DelawareOnline 6/18/15
It's a sad statement about our senate, that someone who has done the things that Senator Blevins has, was not only elected as the senate president by her fellow senators, but she also was assigned by the senate membership to sit on the Delaware Senate Ethics Committee,  Of course, the fact that Senator McBride is the chairman of the Ethics commission says something is clearly broken in our legislature, especially given Mcbride's past actions regarding the Tigani / NKS case, and the more recent concerns about a conflict of interest in other epilogue language for $7.5 million.

Elections should prove to be interesting next year.  First since we know that Senator Blevins' party will already be taking the heat next year when they raise our taxes, since it is expected that the state will have a deficit of $100-200 million, and right now they are the ones in charge with a super majority and because of that can't deny their culpability in increased taxes.  But also because more people are becoming aware of the corruption that occurred with animal welfare and I'm sure they don't doubt that it is happening in other cases, especially since our lawmakers and our law enforcement officials have sat back and ignored the collusion that has occurred.

Animal welfare may be a small segment, but a few images has been well shared by a couple of pages, and I think that's because Delaware residents are getting fed up with the insider politics in our state. Games like we've seen occur hurt the state's opportunities to recruit business into our state.  Why would you bring your company here if you have to worry about a senator trying to put you under because you will compete with a friend of her's companies?

I will go into the bid solicitation more specifically at a later date, but of course in typical "No-Kill" fashion, the contract will not include owner surrenders, so people will end up dumping their pets if they can't find other options when they lose their home or grandma dies and the kids don't live in a place that will allow animals, etc.  I guess as long as a good number of them die on the streets, it will help the state statistics, but on the other hand it also means the shelter that takes on the sheltering contract will have to eat higher costs for sick and injured animals that could have come into the shelter healthy.

But it's also worth noting that Senator Blevins stated in the discussion above that the current funding levels were sufficient to Senator Bonini, despite the fact that nobody knows what the bidding will bring us.

Communities like Austin have seen their budget increase substantially since they started down the road of "No-Kill" in 2009, and as you can see from the trajectory, there is no indications that the large increases will ever stop.  In fact Austin has already built 1 new shelter for $12 million, and there is discussion about a second one being built in the next several years.

Keep in mind that Austin's population is similar to Delaware's, so what will the state do if the bid/bids come in for $11.8 million like Austin, rather than a portion of the 3.5 million promised???   Animal care costs are the main part of Austin's budget growth, not more officers.  The state has hired officers already, so there's no turning back.  But isn't that exactly what Senator Blevins and her cartel of animals shelter insiders are counting on, that the sky can be the limit.

That's why they used epilogue rather than doing legislation the right way with a plan, a fiscal note, and allowing public input.  Why disclose the potential costs to the legislature and risk the legislation failing when you can do it under the table in epilogue due to our states poor controls?  And you certainly wouldn't want to disclose the potential costs to the cities and counties who will have to come up with the funds when the bids come in high, since they are the ones that are still responsible for paying for dog control. Since the notification will go out to the winning bidder on October 30, we'll see if the city of Wilmington and the three counties are in for a trick or a treat.