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Davison Co. set to interview VSO candidates

Davison County has found its field of candidates who could serve as the next area veterans service officer. According to Auditor Susan Kiepke, no more than five candidates will be interviewed on Jan. 9 for the position, which exists to assist vet...

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Davison County has found its field of candidates who could serve as the next area veterans service officer.

According to Auditor Susan Kiepke, no more than five candidates will be interviewed on Jan. 9 for the position, which exists to assist veterans with issues like filling out enrollment forms, issues pertaining to missing military records, assist and submit G.I. Bill benefits and more. The item was discussed Tuesday at the regular meeting of the Davison County Commission in Mitchell.

The county's search for a replacement veterans service officer is needed due to the November firing of Jessica Davidson, who has since pursued legal action against the county for wrongful termination. She believes she was terminated for "whistleblowing" on the South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs for pointing out allegations of misconduct, which she believes upset Veterans Affairs Secretary Larry Zimmerman.

The county is working without a full-time veterans service officer, but a part-time staffer has been available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

With that in mind, Commissioner Denny Kiner hoped to get the hiring process moving forward.

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"We need to get that done," Kiner said.

Commission Chair Brenda Bode also supported an expedited process.

"There people applied, so in respect of that, we need to move forward," Bode said.

The commission also used its first meeting of 2018 to elect a chair and vice chair, and both Commission Chair Brenda Bode and Vice Chair Kim Weitala were re-elected to their positions by their peers.

"Madame chair, I nominate the madame chair to be the madame chair," Kiner quipped.

Before Bode took the position last year, Commissioner John Claggett served as commission chair.

Other business

In other business, the commission:

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• Administered oaths of office to the five commissioners, approved minutes from the previous meeting, approved rates for 2018 county business, accepted the 2018 digital data policy, adopted the annual election workers resolution, designated The Daily Republic as the official newspaper of Davison County, approved 2018 committee reports, approved the county depositories and investment policy, set rates for 2018 welfare assistance, adopted a travel resolution, acknowledged volunteers and accepted timesheets.

• Met with Toby Qualm, of the Department of Legislative Audit, to learn information of the audit conducted every two years. Qualm said there weren't any "significant findings," but one issue was inaccurate internal accounting controls.

• Held a closed-door executive session with Davison County State's Attorney Jim Miskimins, Davison County Sheriff Steve Brink and Deputy State's Attorney James Taylor. No action was taken after the session.

• Held a closed-door executive session with Davison County Director of Equalization Kathy Goetsch, Miskimins and Taylor. After the session the board accepted the resignation of Owen Reitzel from the Equalization Office, approved the hiring of Alex Hartman and Karla Love, briefly mentioned a cellphone stipend for county assessors - which was not considered by the commission Tuesday.

• Held a closed-door executive session with Miskimins and Taylor. No action was taken after the session.

• Approved a request from Corrections Administrator Don Radel to send two staffers to a basic training course. Radel also acknowledged that Davison County was not successful in acquiring a 24/7 program grant.

• Bode acknowledged that Avera will no longer make use of the Davison County Fairgrounds space.

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