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Town of Hudson will not renew Knopps contract

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Talks intensified during the regularly scheduled town of Hudson board meeting Tuesday, Nov. 1, on what to do about the town's animal control officer Jeff Knopps. Ultimately the board decided to pay him until the end of his contract, but have an alternate do the work.

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Several complaints have been filed in regards to Knopps, ranging from townspeople to employees of the humane society, who had recently sent a letter to the town expressing their frustrations.

Other complaints include not being able to contact Knopps when he is scheduled to be on duty, and having his phone calls forwarded to Phil Smith, who covers for Knopps on his days off and vacation days. These issues have been brought to the attention of the board before, and were recently discovered again after viewing recent town cell phone bills.

"He's playing games," said Supervisor Tim Foster, who initiated the conversation Tuesday, after viewing an "erratic" list of vacation days.

Town Board Chair Jeff Johnson argued that while the days off requested were erratic, the amount of time was still in the contract, and would be best to just let things go for the final two months of the contract. At that point the town will be outsourcing the animal control officer position, and Johnson asked if "anyone is ready to terminate the contract," and face a plethora of other possible problems that may arise from breaking the contract.

"I've been ready to sever the tie for the last eight to 10 months," said Supervisor Dave Ostby adding that, "a guy that doesn't do the job shouldn't be compensated."

During the discussion, Chairman Johnson pointed out that the actual number of cases the animal control officer handles is rather low, and that "there haven't been more than a couple of people that I've talked to outside the office," in regard to the situation, adding that even still he is "frustrated with the whole topic."

After discussion, the Town Board decided that they would pay Knopps though the end of his contract in December. However, they will have Phil Smith cover for Knopps for the rest of the year, as well as deactivate the town cell phone that is in Knopp's possession.

Smith currently is scheduled to cover for Knopps for 42 days, and will be paid for his time. Should there be more than 42 days of service needed from Smith, he will be compensated for those as well. As for Knopps, he will receive his regular November paycheck, and will receive his December paycheck upon the return of all town equipment that he is currently in possession of.

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