Veterans Committee Denies Authorizing Agreement Approved By County Board
February 21, 2019
The County Board of Commissioners may have approved an agreement with terms for a new Veteran’s Court Coordinator that wasn’t approved by the Veterans Committee.
Livingston County Courts have been without a Veterans Court Coordinator since last April. Last September, they sent the terms and details for a new 2-year agreement to the Veterans Committee for approval should the right candidate apply. The Veterans Committee sent back an agreement for a 1-year contract, wanting the Coordinator to come then come back to the Committee for re-evaluation. That agreement passed by a 3-2 vote. Committee Chair Joe Riker said that they were given the agreement on short notice, and that after some consideration, went to the County Board to ask for more time. Riker said they wanted to look at what other counties have done with the coordinator’s position.
The Board of Commissioners went ahead anyway and approved the agreement. Flash forward to Wednesday, and an amended agreement was before the Veterans Committee, asking for 2-years with an option for a third. It had been discovered that the agreement the County Board approved was the original 2-year plan, and not the amended 1-year. Commissioner Bob Bezotte is newly appointed to the Veterans Committee and was surprised to learn this. He stated that he and the Board might not have had the authority or permission to have voted on the agreement that was before them, and if he had known, he would never have circumvented the Committee’s authority and voted for it. Bezotte said he would inquire with County Administrator Ken Hinton for clarification, and that the Board may have to re-approve a fixed agreement. Riker said, he too, was interested in getting more information on how this supposed mix-up could have happened.
The Veterans Committee approved a motion denying the new agreement, so that they could bring back a corrected one. The vote was 4-1, with Bezotte dissenting for wanting to stay consistent, but apologizing to the Committee for doing so and stressing a desire to get more information. (MK)