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Alcona County Commissioner Looks to Ease Tension Between Board, Veterans

While the Alcona County Board of Commissioners and the Alcona County Veterans Affairs Department have not seen eye–to–eye on many things in the past year and a half or so, one newly–elected member of the board thinks he can solve some of those problems.

Craig Johnston has previously served on the board, but is now back for a second term. One of his priorities is easing the tension between the Board and the Veterans Department.

“I think it was more of a communication issue,” said Johnston. “Both parties want the same thing; they want a great office and a great service for the county veterans. I think it was really more, I was fortunate enough to come into a situation where there were some pieces that needed to be put in the right spots.”

In any partnership, each side will have to sacrifice their standpoint or compromise to find a middle ground. The biggest problem between the two sides has been the new veteran’s office building that they haven’t been able to come to an agreement on.

“The devil in the details was, where are we going to do it, how big is it going to be, all these minor details became major details, so we’ve been able to sort of find a way to accommodate their needs, and the county’s needs,” said Johnston.

Johnston sees the divide pretty simplistically: the two sides need to communicate better. That’s where he comes in.

“That’s mainly what it is, being transparent,” he said. “I’m a big believer in transparency; I think if everybody knows what everybody thinks, what everybody is doing, nobody has opinions that maybe aren’t valid.”

Johnston believes he’s had good conversations with both sides, and they’re hoping they can break ground on the new Veterans Affairs office in Lincoln in the spring.