Council gives CARES 5-year contract over opposition of Krakowiak & Edgar


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By Jack Mayne

The Burien City Council approved 5 to 2 a five-year contract with the city’s current animal control agency Community Resource Education Society (CARES), following a long discussion that resulted in a number of changes and reveled the opposition to the contract by Mayor Lucy Krakowiak and Councilmember Bob Edgar.

The contract is for five-years, beginning Jan. 1, 2018 and ending Dec. 31, 2022.

Many positive comments
Burien Human Resources Manager Angie Chaufty said the city staff has heard many positive comments from the public on the service that CARES has given the city during the recently extended contract that ends on Dec. 31.

She said the focus of negotiations for the new five-year contract has been on the future.

The contract requires two reports, the first one will come the first quarter and will be a presentation to the Council on CARES statistics for 2017. Then in the third quarter of next year, the city will require a written report on the first six months of the year. City Manager Brian Wilson said there would be written reports for the Council twice a year.

The reports will include the type and number of calls for service, the type and number of animals taken in and a monthly report of license registration fee income and of penalty fees. The city will also be given copies of citations issued and the specifics of those actions.

The Council was shown a list of fee licenses for a variety of actions, from a single pet license to fines for cruelty or other violations. There also are to be reports on the adoption, euthanasia, return, transfer, foster, deaths and other statistical information of animals. The city will get frequent and detailed reports on all financial transactions with Burien residents and those doing business in the city.

“What our hope is, moving forward, is that we can see some continuity and be able to make some comparisons in reporting so that Council and staff can ensure that the desired expectations are being met with the CARES services,” Chaufty said.

The city staff proposal keeps many basic provisions from the past contract, including insurance audit and inspection provisions and the hours of operation CARES must observe, but also that CARES must base employee compensation on the county’s Regional Animal Control of King County (RASKC) compensation, with a wage range somewhat higher than the city system.

Councilmembers Lauren Berkowitz and Stephen Armstrong said that could mean increased cost to CARES if by RASKC costs it meant higher than the city pays for salaries. City Manager Brian Wilson said the contract with CARES should be adjusted to accommodate higher King County salaries and CARES Director Debra George said that adjustment could be helpful.

In the end, the Council indicated four members would tie the contract to King County and three indicated the contract remain tied to the city salary schedule.

Near the end of the CARES briefing, Councilmember Bob Edgar said he had earlier had expressed displeasure “at the questionable business practices of the contractor” and said he would vote against the contract.

Berkowitz was in favor of the agreement and did not want to have the subject keep coming up and large number of supporters coming to tell the Council they were pleased with CARES, “so I am a strong yes vote for this contract.”

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