BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. — Three unnamed finalists are in the running to be the next manager of the Sullivan County Animal Shelter.

The board of directors for Animal Shelter of Sullivan County Inc., which will eventually take over operations of the Blountville shelter, made filling the position one of their primary goals. An interim manager, Peter Hanson, has been overseeing day-to-day operations under the guidance of county officials since June 2018, when the last manager left.

The shelter has been operated by the county since Jan. 1, 2018. Petworks, formerly known as SBK Animal Control Center, operated it from 2011-2017 and still controls the Kingsport shelter.

Board Vice President Gena Frye reported during the board’s meeting on Wednesday that 277 people applied for the shelter manager position. Many of the applicants were weeded out of the running by the board because of their lack of qualifications, she said.

In the next few weeks, the board will settle on the pay and benefits that will come with the position. At a February board meeting, Sullivan County Accounts and Budgets Director Larry Bailey said a shelter manager needs to be paid more than $25,000 but less than $50,000.

After pay and benefits are determined, the board will interview the finalists. The board’s goal is to fill the position by May, which Frye said could still happen.

After it takes over, the board will require all current employees to apply to keep their jobs.

The board will also hire, in the future, an executive director to head up the corporation’s marketing, public relations and fundraising efforts, including applying for grant funding. Essentially, that person will be the face of the shelter.

President Linda Brittenham announced during the meeting that a nominating committee will be chosen soon to begin the search for a new board member because member Kay Gott has resigned. Gott wrote in her resignation letter, which Brittenham read to the board, that she was quitting because she had “overcommitted” herself.

“Between my business, my health, and my grandchildren I fear I have overcommitted myself and would not be able to continue as a board member,” Gott wrote.

Under the corporation’s bylaws, nominating committees are to consist of three or more board members.

The board’s next meeting will be May 1 at 6 p.m. in the Commission Room on the second floor of the Sullivan County Courthouse in Blountville.

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