BOC nixes initially proposed VA candidate

Dave Lein, Editor

BELLAIRE – During an otherwise quiet routine first business meeting of the month on Thursday, March 7, the Antrim County Board of Commissioners sparked an emotional plea after they voted against appointing a recommended individual to one of its committees, and instead appointed someone else.

As part of its new business agenda item, the board was in the process of approving appointment recommendations to various boards, including: the county’s housing committee, veterans affairs board, capital improvement committee, Antrim Creek Natural Area and Area Agency on Aging.

However, it was the decision over the veterans affairs board appointment that generated concern, and later, a pointed statement critical of the Commissioners’ action offered by Deborah Peters, the county’s director of veterans affairs.

Traditionally, board/committee appointments are made by the commission chair, after reviewing applications and receiving a recommendation from the respective committee. The chair’s recommendation is then presented to the full board of commissioners for final approval.

BOC Vice Chair Karen Bargy was charged with making the appointments in the absence of Chairman Ed Boettcher (District 4), who was absent due to an extended trip out of the country. Other Commissioners absent from the meeting included: Joshua Watrous (District 2), Jason Helwig (District 8) and Brenda Ricksgers (District 6), who had to leave at 11 a.m., prior to discussion on this topic.

In making a motion to appoint Libby Hiser to the VA Board, Bargy said Hiser was the candidate recommended by the committee and director due to her experience serving in the Gulf War, and to provide a more diverse mix (of veterans/individuals that had served in various conflicts) to the committee. Bargy’s motion was supported by District 9 Commissioner Christian Marcus.

When it came time for further discussion prior to the vote, District 1 Commissioner Dave Heeres said he thought Central Lake resident Calvin Shooks (a Vietnam Veteran) would be a better candidate.

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