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FARMINGTON — The city council approved a contract Tuesday for animal shelter consulting services with Marcy Eckhardt, founder of Pro Shelter, an animal shelter consulting company based in Durango, Colo.

The contract will be renewed on a month-to-month basis for up to six months. Eckhardt will be paid $6,866 per month until the contract expires.

Eckhardt has been instrumental in the Farmington Animal Shelter's dramatic transformation over the past six months, said Councilwoman Mary Fischer in a phone interview Tuesday morning.

“I think the shelter was not reflective of the best practices of an animal shelter,” Fischer said. “I don't think anyone would disagree with that. She has revamped the policies and procedures. She is bringing us into the 20th century, and hopefully into the 21st century soon.”

Eckhardt's continuing service to the city and to the shelter will help ensure that animal welfare in Farmington continues to progress, she said.

“It's been a gargantuan task for Marcy and the shelter staff,” Fischer said. “We're certainly not there yet, but I have faith that we will be the kind of shelter that people have been expecting. The entire concept of the shelter is one that requires such dedication and heart from those who work there. I have the utmost respect for what they do and for putting the animals' welfare first.”

Eckhardt's consulting services will help the shelter maintain focus and direction as city administration continues its search for a permanent shelter director, said City Manager Rob Mayes in an emailed statement Tuesday afternoon.

“We are actively conducting a national search for a new permanent director,” Mayes said. “We anticipate utilizing Pro Shelter Consulting only through the transition into the new shelter in August or September. I do not anticipate needing these services or expending the cost for the entire six months.”
Cory Styron, the city's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs department director, said Eckhardt's services will ensure that the shelter continues to have continuing training, and policy and procedure development while the search for a shelter director continues.

Three candidates for the shelter director position were interviewed last Friday, Styron said.

City officials should know whether they will hire one of the three candidates, or if they will continue the search, by the end of this week, he said.

Mayor Tommy Roberts said that Eckhardt's services have been invaluable in transforming the shelter's image in the community.

“Marcy has helped significantly in this at a time when we're transitioning from the old shelter to the new shelter,” he said. “The animal welfare advocates in the community are very happy.”

Greg Yee covers government for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4606 and gyee@daily-times.com. Follow him @GYeeDT on Twitter.