By Timothy Cox
Mercer County Veterans Services Commission members will get annual cost-of-living increases but will not get the $50 bump in monthly pay they had sought.
Mercer County Commissioners this week approved a plan to begin increasing their $300 monthly salaries each year by an inflationary factor set by the government. Each member of the five-person commission will get the modest pay raise beginning at the start of their next five-year term.
The five commission members represent the five military services posts, including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam (AMVETS), Vietnam Veterans of America and Disabled American Veterans. Members are recommended by their respective posts and appointed to their terms by the county Common Pleas Court.
Because the terms are staggered, some commission members won't actually see the pay increase for a few years.
Commission members are responsible for staffing the county veterans services office with a director and for overseeing its programs. The veterans services office helps military veterans file for insurance and pension benefits and also transports them to medical appointments and other meetings. In a review of veterans service commission pay in surrounding counties, Mercer County officials found that local commission members already earn more than their counterparts in Auglaize, Darke, Van Wert and Shelby counties. Commissioners liked an inflationary factor built into Auglaize County's pay structure for the commission and adopted it as part of their own plan.
Pay was last increased for Mercer County Veterans Services Commission members about five years ago.