OFFICE RESTRUCTURING

Dog warden won’t lose job in Paulding Co.

Commissioners to appoint Dyson part of sheriff’s staff

6/5/2013
BY TANYA IRWIN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Dyson
Dyson

PAULDING, Ohio — Dog Warden Georgia Dyson isn’t out of a job after all.

The Pauding County Commissioners will sign a resolution today to appoint Ms. Dyson as dog warden under the supervision of Sheriff Jason Landers, effective July 1.

The commissioners voted in May to transition the dog warden duties to the sheriff’s office and said Ms. Dyson’s last day on the job would be June 30. She has been the dog warden since December, 2010.

It was initially thought she was ineligible for the job under the new structure because her spouse is already employed at the sheriff’s office.

However, after consulting with the Ohio Ethics Commission and Buckeye State Sherriff’s Association ethics committee, the commissioners and Sheriff Landers determined that if the position were appointed by the commissioners, it would not raise any ethics concerns, said Fred Pieper, chairman of the commissioners.

The commissioners and sheriff met in a 40-minute executive session Monday morning, after which the commissioners voted unanimously to rehire Ms. Dyson.

“There were two things we were trying to accomplish and those goals will be met,” Mr. Pieper said. “We wanted the position to have daily oversight, and we were concerned about Georgia’s safety. She will get more respect in a deputy’s uniform. People were not respecting the dog warden; she was treated like a meter maid.”

Her starting pay will be $14.94 an hour, which is a reflection of her current salaried pay. After four months, she will be subject to an evaluation. At that time, it will be determined what her compensation should be according to changes in her responsibilities, as she will also be serving as a sheriff’s deputy.

Ms. Dyson is already trained as a reserve deputy.

Although she may have to respond to some nondog-related calls, Sheriff Landers said Ms. Dyson’s top responsibility will be handling dog-related concerns. She will no longer have to deal with administrative work such as buying supplies and completing accounts receivable paperwork because the sheriff’s office has a dedicated person for such duties.

“Her number-one priority will be serving the public,” the sheriff said. “I think the public will notice a much quicker response time under the new structure. It will relieve her of some duties so that can concentrate her efforts on responding to the public.”

Paulding is the first county in northwest Ohio to make such a shift. It joins nine other Ohio counties which have done so: Champaign, Shelby, Madison, Marion, Pike, Washington, Logan, Preble, and Fayette.

Unlike those counties, which have a humane society or other animal-sheltering group that takes dogs after the sheriff’s office picks them up, the Paulding County Sheriff’s office will take over the county pound, which houses up to 12 dogs.

That will include all aspects of the dogs’ care, including cleaning kennels.

The commissioners also will appoint someone to be Ms. Dyson’s part-time assistant. The current assistant dog warden, Ken Huckabaa, isn’t eligible for the new position since that person needs to be a peace officer, Sheriff Landers said.

Mr. Pieper said there are no developments regarding proposed changes to the county emergency management agency. The commissioners are in the process of getting approval from a majority of the county’s townships and villages to disband the EMA board.

Contact Tanya Irwin at: tirwin@theblade.com or 419-724-6066 or on Twitter @TanyaIrwin.