A county committee has deferred to the full board of commissioners its recommendation on who will be appointed to the Veterans Services Committee.

The Board of Commissioners' Personnel Committee, made up of commissioners Bob Bezotte, Bill Green and Carol Griffith, interviewed five candidates Monday for two openings on the veterans committee, which has been the subject of headlines and a criminal investigation which concluded with no charges being filed. The five who were interviewed included current committee members Hansel Keane and Joe Riker, whose terms expire at the end of the month. Also interviewed were former County Commissioner Steve Williams, Michael Reeve and Jim Pratt.

The Personnel Committee had been expected to make a recommendation as to which two should receive an appointment, but instead decided to forward all five applicants to the full board of commissioners for a decision at their December 17th meeting.

Keene, who currently chairs the Veterans Services Committee, was the subject of a criminal investigation by the Michigan State Police after a donor said she could not get Keene to give her a receipt for her donation of $400 in cash and other items despite repeated requests. It later came to light that Keene had cashed the check into his personal account, a violation of county policy, while keeping a pair of floor cleaners and scrapping a riding lawnmower. The donor said Keene had assured her the items were donated as promised and were being utilized by county veterans.

Keene eventually returned the floor cleaners and had his attorney, fellow committee member Kevin Nagle, provide receipts for the items as well as a check for the $400, which he said was used for a veterans plaque at the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office. Livingston County Prosecutor Bill Vailliencourt declined to pursue charges in the matter, saying there was, “insufficient evidence to justify any criminal charges…” (JK)