Domestic Animal Control Task Force suspended by Commissioners Jenkins, Ciampi, Smith



From Ginny Sherlock, renowned local attorney, civic activist, and former Associated Press editor: New County Commissioners Ed Ciampi and Harold Jenkins and re-elected Commissioner Doug Smith voted today to suspend all meetings and activities of the Domestic Animal Control Task Force.


Commissioner Smith initially suggested that the DAC Task Force be dissolved altogether and that staff be directed to restore the contract with the Humane Society of the Treasure Coast, but Commissioner Jenkins said he needed more time to study the matter before taking that step.  


Commissioner Ciampi then stated his support for the HSTC but suggested that in order to give Commissioner Jenkins time to look into the situation the Task Force should suspend all meetings and activities until December 13, when the BCC will again take up the matter.


Commissioner Smith complained that the Task Force is taking up too much staff time and is straying outside its mission.  He said the Task Force is going down the wrong path (although he has never attended a single Task Force meeting that I’m aware of).  Commissioner Heard asked how Commissioner Jenkins can learn about the Task Force if meetings are suspended and he can’t attend.  Commissioner Ciampi said he would encourage individual communication between Task Force members and the Commissioners.


Commissioner Ciampi said he has not had an opportunity to speak with his district’s Task Force appointee.  He also said he has great regard for HSTC and thinks that there are Task Force members who are too hard on HSTC.


This was the last item taken up by the BCC before the lunch recess.  The morning was filled with discussions of restoring projects and plans that were not approved during the past few years.  Commissioners Smith, Jenkins and Ciampi voted to bring back the Jensen Beach Mooring Field, the Customs Facility at the Martin County Airport, the “independent” CRA Board, the Bridge Road beautification project, and just about every other costly project that has ever been suggested in the past.


Commissioners Ciampi and Smith were oblivious to cautionary notes sounded by Commissioners Heard and Fielding regarding the lack of funding for the projects. 


Commissioner Ciampi suggested that funds can be shifted from reserves to pay for these projects as well as to restore funds that were transferred from the CRAs to the general fund last fiscal year.  Commissioner Ciampi said that he has confidence that staff will come up with appropriate funds for the projects without having to raise taxes to pay for them.


Commissioners Ciampi, Smith and Jenkins appear to have little concern for the treatment of animals in Martin County or for taxpayers’ pocketbooks.


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