Kalamazoo County Reinstates Veterans' Board

May 2, 2018

The county's Veterans Service Office in November 2016.
Credit Sehvilla Mann / WMUK

Kalamazoo County will reboot its Veterans Affairs Committee. That’s after the state attorney general’s office found that the county cannot legally dissolve the board.

Last year commissioners voted to disband the Veterans Affairs Committee, which is composed of former service members, and to transfer veteran services to a local mental health agency. County Administrator Tracie Moored says the transfer will go forward, but the county will reinstate the committee of former service members that oversees veteran services.

Commissioner Mike Quinn has fought to keep the committee.

“That was the intent of the Michigan law that established these veterans’ committees, that veterans themselves would have oversight of the services provided that are provided to the veterans,” Quinn said.

Robert Hencken is still the committee’s chair. On Tuesday he expressed hope that the County Commission and the veterans committee could move past their differences. But Hencken says the county must respect the committee’s authority.

“This Veterans Affairs Committee is not an advisory board. It is an administrative committee under state law with responsibilities created by the statute,” he said.

The county says the veterans committee will still have the power to hire veteran services staff.