HOULTON, Maine — The town has turned to one of its own employees to fill a vacancy with the Animal Control department.
Kevin Tingley, Houlton’s code enforcement officer and health officer, was unanimously named as Houlton’s new ACO during Monday night’s council meeting. Tingley replaces C.J. Virgie, who resigned from her position in July after serving the community since May, 2014.
“Kevin has agreed to work at half the wage that the previous ACO was making, which result in a net savings for the town,” explained Town Manager Butch Asselin.
Tingley will be paid a $5,200 to fulfill the duties of the ACO. The position was previously a part-time position at 20 hours per week, with a salary of $10,000.
Houlton Police Chief Joe McKenna said Tingley will have to attend a training seminar to become certified as an ACO. The cost for that three-day training session was not determined by presstime.
Councilor John White questioned if Tingley would have enough time in the day to both the code enforcement job, while adding on the responsibilities of the ACO position.
“His other job has always been considered full-time, and I know the animal control officer can be busy too,” he said. “Are you confident in this decision?”
Asselin answered that he felt the two positions could work together and was worth giving a try.
“The animal control officer’s busy times is during the months of December to March, contacting dog owners to remind them of impending licenses,” Asselin said. “The busy time for the code office is from April to October, during construction.”
The town has about 1,000 dogs that are licensed annually.
In addition, the Houlton Police Department handles the majority of stray animal, barking dog or wildlife complaints, Asselin said. Tingley has agreed to respond to complaints until 6 p.m., which is the same as the previous ACO schedule.
“If it doesn’t work out, I will certainly let council know,” Asselin said. “I think this is an opportunity to save the town some money by combining the positions.”