MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - The long troubled Memphis animal shelter is accepting bids for privatization.
The problems just don't seem to be going away at the shelter. The shelter's former director, Matthew Pepper, resigned in August 2011; now the city believes privatization may be the answer. The Memphis Director of Public Services, and the shelter's supervisor, Janet Hooks, sais, "Only time will tell whether or not having someone come in new will help. We are well on our way to resolving a lot of our issues at the facility. They are issues that have been brewing over a long period of time."
Hooks told council members the shelter itself will remain in the city's hands, but she wants to outsource management to a private company. "We need more resources, a vendor may be able to come in and assume the responsibility of the shelter that has those resources."
In 2010 the shelter had 16,000 animals come through its doors; by November of 2011 more than 14,000 had already come in. Hooks said it's a financial burden the city needs to get rid of. "We're going to continue to meet before Council to ask for additional dollars. We went from a 10,000 square foot facility to 35,000 square foot facility and we have the same number of employees."
Council member Jim Strickland agreed with Hooks, "I think if we privatize the management we'll get a better product at less cost."
Hooks will hold a pre-bid meeting on January 12, 2012, to see if privatization is a viable option for the city. "It depends what happens at the pre-bid meeting. If there is no vendor that has the finances or experience to do what we need, then the city would be derelict to hand it off to an entity. I guess we have to wait and see who's interested."
RFP's are required to be submitted by Feb. 10, 2012. Then an evaluation committee will review proposals before it goes before the City Council.