The idea of eliminating county Veterans Service Officers and adopting a regional office has gotten a sharp rebuke from the Oneida County Board of Supervisors. The state bill would put several counties under one umbrella office that could be run by someone other than a veteran. No one spoke in favor of the bill Tuesday.
Supervisor Ted Cushing of Hazelhurst says this issue is similiar to other mandates coming from Madison that strips away local control....
"...it must be running in the water in Madison. They always seem to think they know best. It's no different than what they tried to do with Aging and Disability Resource Centers....everything is regionalize, regionalize, regionalize. form consortiums and take responsbility out of the hands of the people who know it best...."
Oneida County Veterans Service Officer Tammy Walters said the move likely would hurt local veterans...
".....I think about all those people and what the heck would happen to them if they regionalized? How would a legally blind 91-year-old World War II veteran get services if they regionalize County Veterans Service Offices. Who are those suicidal veterans going to call?..."
Three people from the public also rose to speak against the state bill and support Oneida county backing the current system.
All said with an office and staff farther away, local veterans would be negatively impacted. The board unanimously approved sending a letter to the state opposing the regional concept. The board then followed up unanimously backing a change in funding, giving more funding directly to the County Veterans Service Officer.