Veterans Advisory Board Members Question County's Priorities
Published January 24th, 2014
GAINESVILLE -- The authors of a study examining the service at Alachua County's Veterans Services Office say it is not operating as effectively as it could, and say part of the problem lies with the priorities of county government.
Last November, the Alachua County Veterans Services Advisory Board completed its annual report which examined the services offered to veterans by the county.
The report notes that many veterans would have to wait months for a meeting because the office lacked an "open door policy" -- something that has since changed.
But one of the authors of the report, former Veterans Advisory Board Chair Don Sherry, says the county also seemed to have its priorities in the wrong place by cutting the budget for the Veterans Services Office while growing other departments -- like the Equal Opportunity Office.
"In three years, the [EOO] department has grown to five full-time people, and they have a budget of $356,000. Now, the county Veterans Service Office has been cut back from $250,000 to $177,000," said Sherry.
"If you have 100 percent turnover, and you go through four Veterans Service officers in four years, you got a problem," he said.
New County Manager Betty Baker is expected to issue her own report following her review of Sherry's study.
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