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LETTER: County board shows little respect for veterans

To the editor:

I, as a voter in Douglas County and a Vietnam combat veteran, want to point out some items in the Veterans Affairs stipend for volunteer drivers that were overlooked. I did research from past board meeting minutes and found the following.

This county board of commissioners gave themselves salary raises and per diem increases two years in a row. In 2017 — $1,000 per commissioner, equaling a $5,000 budget increase, and another in 2018 of $1,000 per commissioner, equaling $5,000 for all five board members, totaling $10,000 in two years! You can add in per diem increases from $75 in 2017 to $100 in 2018 with on average expense of $500 per month, which I observed attending a board meeting recently. If true, that's another $30,000 in the 2018 budget. How can they justify this and cut the veterans' van driver's stipend?

It looks to me these commissioners are doing things only beneficial to themselves financially and without the voters of this county being aware, plus not taking care of our veterans. I wonder what else is going on in this same manner that all the voters of this county aren't aware.

Several local veterans associations attended a separate session with two of the board members, Owen Miller and Jerry Rapp, who claim to be veterans, trying to convince them to change this decision without success.

Apparently, this county board has little respect for us veterans and county tax payers. The board could rescind this motion and start over. They are just giving us "lip service" through this entire process to sacrifice a small veteran's transportation budget for their own personal gain.

This is a painful reminder that county citizens, residents and veterans continue to feel alienated by their governing bodies.

Tom Loeffler

Miltona, MN