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2015-02-19

ISO Bandera County Veterans Service Officer

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

With the resignation of Mary Jo Schaffer, Bandera County Commissioners find themselves in the market for a new veterans service officer.
In a letter dated Jan. 30, Schaffer informed the court of her intent to resign the position on Feb. 15, citing a desire to spend more time with her "children and grandchildren who live in another state." She had served as the county's veterans service officer (VSO) for almost eight years.
During the Thursday, Jan. 12, meeting, commissioners took the first step to solicit another VSO. After tweaking the position's job description slightly, the county will accept applications for 30 days and begin the interview process.
Speaking before the court, retired United States Army Col. Susan Junker addressed the need for updating the job description because, as she noted, "The qualifications for the position have changed." Junker spoke to the court with support of officials with the American Legion Post 157 in Bandera.
Junker has researched nearby counties, including Gillespie, Bexar, Kerr and Smith, for their job descriptions and qualifications for the VSO.
Additionally, Junker noted that new qualifications as proposed by training upgrades of the Texas Veterans Commission included accountability and outcome specifications that entail regular reports to the commissioners court and a computer savvy skill set.
"Also, millions of dollars in increased funding has been allocated to counties from the veterans administration," she said. "This could benefit Bandera County by reducing indigent health costs."
Junker offered the court a draft job description and proposal for the interview process inspired by Kerr County guidelines. She also offered to continue providing assistance to veterans on a volunteer basis until a permanent VSO was hired.
During a later agenda item, which covered revisions to several Bandera County job descriptions, commissioners agreed to review other counties' requirements. However, in the interest of advertising the position immediately, they decided to add to the VSO job description "general computer skills and knowledge of software," as advised by Auditor Christina Moreno.
It was also decided that the VSO should be held more accountable by requiring regular reports to Evans. As noted, the court hires the VSO, who then is supervised by the county judge.
For the record, Evans noted that Bandera County had had a veterans service officer since the 1960s.