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County seeks veterans service officer

Gainesville Daily Register - 10/3/2017

Oct. 03--In an attempt to fill the veteran services officer post vacant since August, members of the Cooke County Commissioners Court agreed Monday to advertise the job as a full-time position.

Members of the court went into closed session to discuss the post and took action once they reconvened into open session.

Cooke County Judge Jason Brinkley said members of the court authorized Human Resources to advertise the position at $40,000 a year plus benefits.

Precinct 2 Cooke County Commissioner B.C. Lemons was absent.

The money to cover the cost of the full-time position will come from the county's contingency funds, according to Brinkley.

"We have a need in our county for additional veteran services and have had difficulty filling the position as a part-time position," Brinkley said via an email he sent to members of the media after the vote.

The veteran services officer performs administrative work in advising armed forces veterans and their dependents of benefits available under federal, state and local laws, according to a county job posting. This position assists in completing and submitting required forms, obtaining necessary legal documents, medical reports and other data as required by law or in support of a claim.

Brinkley said he didn't know if the job has always been part-time, but it had been for several years.

Judson Perry served as the veteran services officer for nearly 15 years before retiring in April, according to county officials.

A committee was formed to interview candidates for the position in April. The committee consists of Chief Deputy Fin Jones of the Cooke County Sheriff's Office, County Attorney Ed Zielinski and Cooke County Fire Marshal/ Emergency Management Coordinator Ray Fletcher. All three are veterans.

Brian Swindle started as the new veteran services officer in May, according to Elizabeth Huchton, the county's human resources director.

Swindle, who was also working a full-time job, quit in August because of scheduling conflicts with his other job, Brinkley said.

Another candidate was offered the job but declined partially because of pay, according to Brinkley.

Brinkley said the committee will still handle the interviews and will make a recommendation.

Cooke County has more than 3,000 veterans, county officials said. The county's population is about 39,266, according to the latest population estimate from the U.S. Census Bureau.


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