A Democrat on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners is asking the county’s governing body to adopt a resolution that would create the Veterans’ Services Advisory Council, a proposed 25-member panel intended to help better collaborate with human service agencies dealing with servicemen and servicewomen. The unpaid panel wouldn’t cost the county any money and, even beyond that, the county’s roughly 73,000 veterans deserve to have such a panel looking out for their well-being.
Under the proposed resolution spearheaded by Commissioner Jim Nash (D-Farmington Hills), each of the 25 members of the Board of Commissioners would appoint an honorably-discharged veteran to serve on the panel or a civilian directly involved with veteran services, thereby providing equal geographic representation on the body, which would meet monthly and have the authority to call additional meetings as necessary.
The terms of each member — who would be unpaid volunteers — would expire on Dec. 31, 2012.
The County Executive’s Office would also have the option of appointing an ex-officio member to the panel, as could two county commissioners — one Democrat and one Republican. None of those three members — who would hopefully be veterans under the proposed resolution — would have voting rights on the council.
Eight Democrats have signed on to the resolution, which would also require that the council establish bylaws and provide a report to the Board of Commissioners and the County Executive’s Office before the end of the 2012 calendar year.
As purely a matter of principle, coordinating human services efforts to provide an improved and better level of service for those who served in the military is a laudable goal. No matter how well those services function currently, we suspect that there is always some improvement that could be had — particularly when we’re talking about helping the people who bravely and voluntarily served us.
In addition, the members of the council would serve without pay, so it doesn’t directly affect the county’s bottom line.
Both Democrats and Republicans should be able to get behind this without too much of a political battle. We urge the panel’s creation. o