James S. Seaman, chairman of Oregon city council’s finance committee, is proposing a shared services plan that he believes will ease the burden on returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Seaman notes that since President Barack Obama has announced the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, many Lucas County veterans will be returning home. He wants to use the county’s four title bureaus to help veterans.
This is in addition to other “one stop shop” shared services plans Seaman announced in January that would affect the county recorder and auditor’s offices.
“There are many challenges facing our returning Lucas County veterans, such as obtaining a job, reconnecting with their families, friends, and dealing with other possibly stressful emotional and psychological factors,” Seaman said.
“I am making a suggestion on how county government can assist our veterans with their transition back into civilian life. I’m proposing a shared services arrangement whereby veterans can file their military discharge papers (DD 214 forms) with the recorder’s office in one of the four regional title bureaus, instead of going down to the Government Center,” Seaman continued.
“Official filing of this report is a pre-requisite for employment. This is one measure, through a shared services arrangement, our county government can take to ease the burden of our returning veterans.
“There could be a major influx of veterans, so instead of burdening them with a long line up here (One Government Center), we could have smaller, shorter lines throughout the county, which would be much easier.
Seaman said he came up with this idea after talking with local veterans. He is unaware of any other counties implementing this strategy, but noted that Ohio counties already have outreach programs for veterans.
“Anything we can do to help them transition back into this society again,” Seaman said. “This is just one little thing to make things easier for them.
“If a veteran wants to get a loan for a home, they want to see your DD 214 papers. Many employers want to see them, and also if a veteran wants to get GI benefits for education, and ultimately you need that for burial, too — there is also a benefit there,” Seaman continued.
“So, this all has to be on record and if we can make it easier for them, so be it. We have four title bureaus spread across the county, and this will save them a step from having to come downtown, and maybe they have one that is just a few blocks from their home.
“My whole life has been devoted to helping others — and this is another way to supporting the ‘underdog.’ There’s a real fear of mind that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer and we’re here to protect the middle class. We need to have somebody stand up for the middle class, and that’s what I want to do.”
Seaman is seeking election to become the next Lucas County recorder. In the March 6 Democratic primary, he is running against Toledo city councilman Phillip D. Copeland and Kevin R. Eff of Sylvania Township.
The winner advances to face off against Republican George Sarantou, Toledo, in November’s general election. That winner gets to serve four years, commencing Jan. 7, 2013. Jeanine Perry, the current recorder, is retiring.