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Fredonia dog catcher gets one-year pact

Denise Zentz will get a year-long contract as Fredonia’s dog catcher after all, after the Fredonia Board of Trustees last week voted to transfer money for it, then rescind the six-month deal they previously agreed on.

Trustee James Lynden objected to both moves, but he proved to be the lone “no” voter. He wanted the transfer of $1,800 from contingency funds, intended to cover Zentz’s new one-year deal, tabled, but none of the other trustees did.

“It was understood that it was passed as a six month contract and agreement with that lowered amount because we didn’t have $4,800, we had $3,000,” said Lynden, referring to the $3,000 line item in the village budget for the position. “There wasn’t any further discussion — actually, I believe the discussion did include that we would see how it goes for six months,” he added, turning to Trustee Roger Britz.

“I do remember voting on a six-month contract, but we were going to transfer the funds today, and we do have a resolution to extend the contract,” Britz said. Trustee EvaDawn Bashaw backed him. Britz and Bashaw explained the new resolution for a contract would override the six-month contract, and that it was done with the approval of Charlie Roberts, one of the village’s attorneys.

“I just assumed we could wait and see how things go with this service, and six months from now, maybe there’s another opportunity that’s less expensive than what we’re talking, because that was not in our regular budget,” Lynden said. “We only had budgeted $3,000, this is extending it $1,800. I know our budget is tight. We were looking for ways to save money all along the way, and we’re just spending money. So I’m not necessarily in favor of it.”

“Actually, we’re saving money from previous budgets … we did negotiate in good faith with this woman and we went back and talked to her, at the approval of the board, in regard for what would be acceptable,” Bashaw said.

Zentz did not sign the six-month contract, “in anticipation that it would be changed to a year,” she continued. “That’s how we negotiated it and that’s how we intended it to be.”

“That’s not the way the resolution read last time,” Lynden replied. “The resolution was a contract for six months, not in anticipation of renegotiation.”

Apparently realizing he had no support to table the budget transfer, Lynden then said he was dropping the matter. Joined by Trustee Scott Johnston, Bashaw and Britz voted later in the meeting to approve the transfer and the new contract.

Zentz, a retired city of Dunkirk police officer, is also the dog control officer for both the city of Dunkirk and the town of Dunkirk.

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