Evanston’s Human Services Committee holds a special meeting at 6 p.m. tonight to review a proposed new set of guidelines for operation of the city’s animal shelter.

The plan from City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, as reported last week, would establish a new appointed board to oversee the shelter’s operation, in response to an ongoing dispute over the city’s relationship with the Community Animal Rescue Effort.

Dissident members of the volunteer group, which has helped run the shelter since 1987, claim it has recommended killing too many abandoned dogs.

Since the new proposal was released, Bobkiewicz says, he’s gotten more than two dozen emails with comments on it.

Some writers suggested the city should demand that CARE turn over donations they claim the group raised specifically to fund an expansion of the city’s animal shelter.

But a partial review of CARE newsletters, an archive of its website and three years of its tax returns to the Internal Revenue Service, indicate that the group never created a sizable reserved fund for the shelter expansion.

It also appears the group solicited contributions generally for its overall operations rather than specifically for the expansion project.

In recent years CARE has raised considerably more money each year than it has spent on operations, building up total assets of nearly $1.3 million as of the end of 2012.

After years of unsuccessful talks with the city about shelter expansion, the group’s president, Linda Gelb, has said that CARE now hopes to establish its own shelter facility at some point in the future. 

Other comments on the city manager’s proposal suggested it didn’t provide sufficient support for cats at the shelter and argued for requiring more financial disclosures by the volunteer animal organization chosen to aid the city in running the shelter.

So far there’s been no comment from CARE officials about whether they would be willing to continue to be the volunteer animal organization at the shelter under the city manager’s proposed ground rules.

But, based on the full committee’s rejection of a subcommittee proposal that the city drop CARE as its shelter operator, Bobkiewicz is proposing that if the committee accepts the new ground rules that it direct him to negotiate a new one-year agreement with CARE.

Related story

Plan would create animal shelter oversight board

Related document

Meeting packet with emailed comments from residents

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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