Another controversial city council meeting over Clinton County Humane Society

Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes is not happy with Cinton County Humane Society's interim director after Monday's city council meeting.

Posted: Sep 24, 2018 11:28 PM
Updated: Sep 24, 2018 11:58 PM

CLINTON COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes is not happy with the Clinton County Humane Society's interim director after Monday's city council meeting.

The budget for the Humane society's Trap, Neuter Release program still hangs in the balance.

As News 18 previously reported, the mayor threatened to veto the Trap, Neuter Release program's funding over a lack of transparency.

That was after the Humane Society suddenly fired its former director and most of the staff.

The Humane Society had its chance to justify the program's budget at Monday's meeting. In the end, no vote was taken.

Mayor McBarnes said he wants time to review several budget documents presented by the board, which show nearly $3,000 of the $10,000 the program got from the city last year went unspent.

The Humane Society has agreed to pay that amount back to the city. However that may not be good enough for Mayor McBarnes, who has now threatened to veto any budget, until the board hosts a town hall meeting to answer resident's questions.

Mayor McBarnes shared with us a series of leaked emails between the shelter's interim director and the board. Those emails heavily feature Mayor McBarnes.

In them, interim director Ben Pfeffer discusses creating a committee to settle the budget issues with the city behind closed doors.
Conversations reference city council member Eric Woods, who was apparently in favor of that idea.

They discussed possibly waiting to create the committee until Mayor McBarnes was on vacation. The emails also claim Woods said if the board agreed to pay back the budget money that was up in the air, the mayor would "win."

In light of this, Mayor McBarnes said he planned to ask Pfeffer questions at the meeting, but Pfeffer wasn't there.

Board members presented proof of spending which Mayor McBarnes found disappointing.

"No matter the dollar amount, it's $20,000 for next year, the board of public works and I, we will not approve a claim until we know number one that there is transparency occurring and that there is accountability in the program," said McBarnes.

Board members would not talk to the media after the meeting. 

But the emails weren't all bad news for the board, they also indicated the Humane Society's Facebook page is now back online and that they would be willing to post their bylaws once they get ten board members.

The lack of posted bylaws was one of the reasons the mayor threatened a veto in the first place.

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