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February 2, 2023

Veterans’ services secured by Board vote

The county Board of Supervisors ensured that local military
personnel and their families will receive all the benefits coming
to them by approving a new five-year contract with Monterey County
for veteran services.
The county Board of Supervisors ensured that local military personnel and their families will receive all the benefits coming to them by approving a new five-year contract with Monterey County for veteran services.

With a 5-0 vote, the Board approved the contract, worth approximately $54,860 per year, that extends its current arrangement with Monterey County through Dec. 31, 2007.

For the past year, the county has contracted with Monterey County’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to provide services to local veterans, their spouses, widows and dependents. Under the agreement, Monterey County provides a certified veterans representative who will be in Hollister about four hours a day Monday through Friday.

The agreement also gives local veterans full access to the staff and services that Monterey County offers in Salinas, Monterey and Marina.

Although the contract is slated to last five years, it contains a provision that allows the county to pull out of the agreement by simply giving 120 days notice. Monterey County can also opt out of the contract in the same way.

A little more than a year ago, the Board decided to try contracting with Monterey County for veterans services after it had trouble selecting a local representative.

After hearing about the county’s difficulties in finding a veterans services officer, Jack Stewart, director of the Monterey County DMVA, offered to help by providing a part-time, state-certified veterans service officer. The agreement helped put an end to a sometimes bitter debate among a number of local veterans who thought they should be hired as VSO.

A number of veterans who applied for the position accused the Board of being on the verge of illegally appointing a VSO who was neither qualified nor a county resident.

The accusations, which were later proven to be false, alleged that a supervisor had taken all the applications home and forced the former county administrative officer to recommend appointing an unqualified outsider who had been hand-picked by a supervisor.

Concerned by what they saw as an unfair process, several veterans complained to the Board that the choice it had made should be rescinded and the whole appointment process reopened.

Use of Monterey County personnel put an end to most of the debate.

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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