During a work session the Clatsop County Commission heard a presentation from Veterans' Services Officer Phil Simmons, who asked the commissioners to consider increasing his level of compensation under the veterans services contract.

Simmons, who took over the contract in 2011, said the position has required more work – an average of 35 hours a week – than he originally envisioned. Without an increase in the contract, he and his wife Buffy Simmons, who shares the program duties with him, would likely have to cut back on their hours, he said.

The Oregon Department of Veterans Affairs provides $43,100 a year for the program. Clatsop County provides an additional $6,200.

The veterans' services officer assists local military vets in applying for benefits through the federal Veterans Administration. Simmons said since he took over the contract, the total monthly payments coming to Clatsop County vets has increased from about $57,000 to $80,000. There are currently 4,518 veterans in the county, he said.

County Manager Scott Somers said staff would develop three funding options for the program contract and present them to the board at its March 27 meeting.

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