by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor

The resignation of Shiawassee County Veterans Affairs & Services Director Jerilyn Strein, which took effect June 3, has left the county’s Veterans Affairs Committee with the task of hiring a replacement for the growing program. The Shiawassee County Board of Commissioners voted during its Committee of the Whole meeting June 15 to allow the VA Committee to hire an interim director while the 12 candidates for the position are interviewed.

The board approved two motions regarding the hiring; one that allows the VA Committee to hire a permanent replacement, and another to hire an interim director in the meantime. Commissioner Les Schneider voted against both motions Wednesday, saying that the county does not need a director because of the sterling efforts of the department’s two remaining employees, Casey Wilder and Carrie Burns. He called the proposed move to fill the vacancy “frivolous” and a “waste of taxpayers’ money.”

Commissioner Hartmann Aue pointed out that the replacement would have to be accredited, and said he “absolutely supports filling the position” and that he thinks the county could even further expand the burgeoning program.

Commissioner Jeremy Root questioned the motion to hire an interim director. He was concerned that the interim replacement would have an advantage over other candidates in the search for the permanent director. VA Committee member Jim Carrothers assured the commissioners that would not be the case, pointing out that the department will actually be losing Burns in the near future as well.

“We just want to keep the office running to serve the county’s veterans,” Carrothers said Wednesday. “We have 12 candidates for the position and we need time to set up interviews and make a decision. It will take at least three to four weeks, if you want us to do a good job.”

VA Committee member Bob Sherwood and a number of other veterans in the room voiced their preference for the position to be filled by a veteran, and Sherwood also noted that he suspects the hiring process could continue into 2017. Additionally, Carrothers said Wednesday that the VA Committee had selected a candidate to be the interim director, though the name could not be released because “he” had not yet accepted the position.

Commissioners Approve Interim VA Director Hiring was last modified: June 20th, 2016 by Karen Elford