Baitsholts rejects Bern DCO position after board salaries were cut


BERNE – Almost two years after Bern City Council removed Cheryl Baitsholts from her public service job as dog control officer in 2020, it voted 4 to 1 for her reinstatement, four months after her successor suddenly resigned and left town without a dog control officer and in violation of the New York State Agriculture and Markets Law. Baitsholts will reject the offer, however, she wrote in a letter to the Enterprise editor on Friday evening, based on changes made by the GOP-backed board following the resignation of former dog control officer Jodi Jansen in April.

The most notable change is that instead of a $ 4,000 salary, the city will pay $ 19 an hour during the day and $ 24 an hour at night, with hours logged as calls come in. An application to hire Baitsholts was filed earlier this month at a meeting attended by only three council members, but it failed mainly because of this pay change that Democratic board member Joel Willsey, who has been campaigning for the reinstatement of Baitsholts since she was dismissed, as insufficiently designated.

Baitsholts said at the time that she supported Willsey’s voice.

Willsey again voted no at the board meeting on August 25, while GOP-backed townspeople all voted in favor.

At the meeting, Assistant Supervisor Dennis Palow read aloud questions that Baitsholts had sent him to answer, such as: in Knox’s kennels) and how the hours would be recorded (via paper log).

Palow told the board and audience that he had asked Baithsolts to attend the August 25 meeting so he could deliver his responses in person, but she was out of town. He said at the meeting that because of this, he had not answered her questions directly.

This is the end of a long saga about the position of dog control officer in Bern, which came under heavy criticism from residents following the removal of baitsholts by the city council – illegally, according to Albany County’s Deputy Public Services Director David Walker the city, which the Baitsholts saw as a shining example of local animal control for their dedication and empathy in searching for lost pets.

Jansen, meanwhile, had no known experience with animals and, shortly after his appointment, was accused of mistreating a resident who invited a lost and wounded dog to her home. For the next year and a half, local residents said it was difficult to get to. Meanwhile, Baitsholts said residents would ask for help with their animal needs.

Jansen resigned on short notice in April of that year just before a dog was found in a ditch that was almost shot, causing confusion for the Albany County Sheriff’s Department, who tried to reach him before turning to Baitsholts for help instead .

The Bern City Council, less Willsey, strangely opposed a reappointment of Baitsholts on the same terms as when they were removed. Baitsholts was one of only two candidates, the other was Dexter Baker, a dog control officer in Moreau, New York (Saratoga County). The board of directors originally intended to hire Baker and Baitsholts together, on terms similar to those offered to Baitsholts this week, with Baitsholts serving as Baker’s deputy.

Baker eventually withdrew from consideration, making Baitsholts the only candidate.

The city has been breaking the Ag and Markets Act for the last four months, although there is no evidence that there will be a penalty.

When The Enterprise asked Jola Szubielski, director of public information for Ag and Markets, for information about the violation of the city last month, Szubielski said the department would contact the city to remind the city that they are free Position does not comply. and encourage them to appoint a DCO as soon as possible. ”

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