Dan Butler, supervisor of the Saratoga County Animal Shelter, will be retiring in March, after more than three decades of being associated with the shelter.
It’s mostly meant caring for stray or unwanted cats and dogs — the kind of animals some people get all sentimental about — not that the occasional domestic ferret hasn’t been dropped off.
Butler isn’t the only director the county shelter has ever had, but he’s close. He was the founding director in 1978, when the first county-owned shelter was built as an attachment to an old barn at the one-time county poorhouse property in Milton.
“It was an animal barn that they renovated into a shelter,” Butler said.
He stayed until 1999, when he shifted over to a position with the county Public Works Department, citing the need for a break from what could be a stressful job, back when hundreds of the unwanted were euthanized every month.
He returned, however, in 2006, just as talk was beginning about building a replacement for the old facility, with its drafty corridors, barking that could be heard through walls and odd odors.
During his second tour, Butler has been a driving force behind planning for the new shelter and then following through with construction of a $5.3 million facility that looks and feels a century more modern and is highly visible at County Farm Road and Fairground Avenue in Milton.
The new building that opened in 2010 has proven clean, quiet and pleasant, the kind of place county officials show off to visiting delegations. “It helps find homes for a lot more animals,” Butler said on Thursday.
Butler, 55, said he’s retiring while he has an opportunity to go work with his brother, a veterinarian in the Nashville area who also has a horse farm. Their aging father also lives there.
“It’s going to be a total change,” Butler said.
Butler is one of two longtime department heads who will be leaving county employment in the first months of 2013.
Also planning to retire is Public Defender John Ciulla, along with one of his chief assistant defense attorneys, Van Zwisohn. Even though the county has had a hiring freeze in place since 2011, both department heads will be replaced. But County Administrator Spencer Hellwig said both jobs will be subject to a standard “30-day vacancy review,” meaning it will be at least a month after Butler and Ciulla go off the county payroll before their replacements are named.
The county is also looking for a new probation director, with former director John Adams having left last fall to take a state job. Hellwig said someone could be named to fill that opening within the next month.
A $1 billion loan
GlobalFoundries, which now employs 1,900 people in Malta, recently secured a $1 billion federal loan, but the benefit won’t be seen here.
The $1.03 billion loan from the Export-Import Bank of the United States will finance the company’s purchase of American-made semiconductor manufacturing equipment, which will be exported for installation at GlobalFoundries’ Fab 1 plant in Dresden, Germany.
Bank officials said the loan will have no cost to U.S. taxpayers.
The two plants have close ties: A number of engineers and technicians now working in Malta were trained in Dresden, and some German employees have come to the Capital Region to help get Fab 8 started.
The big beneficiaries of the new loan won’t be GlobalFoundries itself as much as Applied Materials and some other equipment makers.
Applied Materials, a Silicon Valley-based maker of the costly semiconductor manufacturing tools, has a small presence in the Capital Region, primarily to service equipment installed at Fab 8 and at the Albany College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.
“The ability of our customer GlobalFoundries to access this financing benefits Applied Materials’ manufacturing and R&D in the United States, as well as our supply chain, at a time of tremendous global competition for high-tech jobs,” said Mike Splinter, chairman and CEO of Applied Materials.