October 22, 2014

Elyria
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46°F
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Judge removes veterans board commissioner

ELYRIA — Lorain County Common Pleas Judge James Burge is removing Bob Childers from the Lorain County Veterans Service Commission after complaints were raised about him by the Disabled Amearican Veterans chapters in Elyria and Lorain that he represented on the board.

The removal will take effect May 31, Burge wrote in a May 14 letter to Childers.

“The membership of DAV Chapters 20 and 49 claim that Commissioner Childers has neglected to keep their chapters apprised of the activities of the veteran services commission and, in addition, that Commissioner Childers has failed to further the stated objectives of these chapters in his capacity as their appointed commissioner,” Burge wrote.

Childers largely declined to comment on his removal, which comes less than a year after he temporarily assumed the role of the agency’s executive director after numerous allegations of misconduct were leveled against Don Bates, who had served as executive director through last summer.

Bates was first fired, but that firing was later rescinded and he was placed on leave while an investigation was conducted. Bates, who had enjoyed popular support from many veterans, resigned before the probe was completed.

“I served my country and my county very well. I serve all veterans, not just disabled veterans,” Childers said Wednesday. “I want Veterans Services to move forward in a positive manner.”

Burge wrote that it was “difficult to establish objective criteria” to evaluate what kind of job Childers was doing.

“Much of the information provided indicates that Commissioner Childers is hardworking, personally conscientious, and attentive to the duties of his office as he sees them,” Burge wrote. “Nevertheless, I find that the collective perception among the members of the affected DAV Chapters is that Commissioner Childers does not adequately represent these organizations and their stated interests or objectives as a member of the veteran services commission.”

Burge wrote that the two chapters have until July 30 to provide him with the names of three possible candidates to serve out Childers’ term, which expires at the end of 2017.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.