Warren County veterans service officer Chuck Mayfield has tendered his resignation with the county effective March 31.
In his resignation letter, Mayfield said, “I so much appreciate the support you have given me during my time as service officer. I could never repay or say thank you enough for your kindness towards this officer and the veterans of Warren County.”
County Executive John Pelham said, “Chuck’s done a great job. Even though that is a part-time position, it does a lot for our veterans. That is where they go to get help, to apply for benefits and various things. It brings a lot of money into this county.”
Mayfield has been the county Veteran Officer since 2006.
His duties include assisting veterans, spouses, dependents and survivors with claims to the Department of Veterans Affairs, and assisting with applications for pension, compensation, education, medical, employment, burials and insurance, among other things.
Mayfield works three day per week for a total of 20 to 25 hours weekly.
Commissioner George Smartt asked if there was enough business to make the veterans officer job a full-time position.
County Executive John Pelham said, “This topic has come up before. We have talked about that in our Veterans Advisory Committee. But, like everything else, that’s got a fiscal note that goes along with it when you do that. We are currently funding a part-time position and when you make it full-time, then that line item has got to go up. Like everything, there are two sides to that argument. You could say it is going to cost more to fund a full-time position. But, if we had a full-time veterans service officer, would we be able to bring more dollars into the county for our veterans if they were here five days a weeks versus three? We have wondered if we had a full-time officer, would this bring more money to the county.”
Pelham said approximately $2.87 million came into the county through Mayfield’s office in 2006 with $8.97 million being brought in during 2013.
“Chuck’s office was in the top 5 percent statewide of part-time offices. He has been a tremendous asset for us. He has been a blessing to work with,” said Pelham.
In 2012, the veterans population in Warren County was recorded at 2,664.
“It is very hard to track veterans,” said Pelham. “Because you have a fair amount of veterans who will not come in and ask for anything. That’s just the nature of who they are and what they have done for our country. They do not want anything in return for it even though they may have qualified for it.”
Smartt asked if every county employed a veterans service officer. He said Grundy County has just over 1,000 veterans and Van Buren County has 450.
“Those two counties together have less than half of what we have,” said Smartt.
Pelham said he does not think every county has an officer.
Smartt said, “If that is the case, would smaller counties like Grundy and Van Buren want to participate if we employed a full-time officer? Or, is there a state agency that might provide some funding to cover those counties that cannot do it themselves? If that is the case, can we be a hub or a central location?”
Pelham said he did not know, but his office would look into the possibility.
The committee voted to advertise for a new part-time veterans officer in March. They hope to have the position filled by the beginning of April.