Editorial Cartoon

Editorial Cartoon

We urge State Sen. George Edwards to not ease up on pressuring Gov. Martin O'Malley and other state officials to keep the local Veterans Service Office fully staffed.

The office has been a two-employee operation, but that is changing because the secretary's position is being moved from Cumberland to Frederick.

Susan Knisley, the Cumberland officer, will remain on the job here, but there is only volunteer coverage when she is on vacation or on sick leave.

The problem came to light after the Times-News published letters from veterans lamenting the fact that the office sometimes goes unmanned.

Edwards has written a letter to Gov. O'Malley about the problem.

He said he got "a little wound up" when Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary James Adkins told him the secretary's job was being moved to Frederick.

Edwards said he believes secretarial support in any Western Maryland office should be located in Cumberland, not Hagerstown or Frederick.

He said veterans living in those areas can just as easily come to Cumberland for service as people in Oakland can.

He cited inclement weather as being a problem for veterans in far Western Maryland traveling to Washington or Frederick counties.

Having two people handling the Allegany County office is hardly a drain on the state's budget. On the other hand, thousands of veterans in this region depend on the state Department of Veterans Affairs. They should not have to wonder if the office is going to be closed or open.

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