Veterans who serve in the Arizona Legislature called for Gov. Jan Brewer to reinstate the director of the Veterans' Services Department this week, after she dismissed him for violating an order.
Joey Strickland, a retired Army colonel, was dismissed after he hired former state Rep. Terri Proud against Brewer’s orders. Days after Proud was hired, news reports detailed comments she had made about women in combat. Some deemed the remarks inappropriate.
Brewer had told Strickland not to hire Proud, and she dismissed Proud and Strickland after the reports became public.
One of the members of the Veterans Caucus, Rep. Sonny Borrelli, R-Lake Havasu City, hand-delivered a letter to Brewer Tuesday, asking her to reinstate Strickland.
Strickland should be judged on the work he has done, not a single hiring decision, said Veterans Caucus member Rep. Mark Cardenas, D-Phoenix.
“He’s opened a new veteran’s home, he’s given money to fund other shelters that are run by non profits, he did a lot of work also in rural Arizona also where a lot of our veterans live, so he’s been a tireless advocate," Cardenas said.
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Strickland may have made a poor decision, but many veterans support his previous work and regard him highly, Cardenas said.
"The general consensus is that, yes, the hiring decision was wrong, but his tenure at the head of Department of Veterans' Services has been a very good one," Cardenas said.
"We believe that that hasn't erased the years of service that not only he's given to the Department of Veterans' Services but the 29 years he spent in the military and at the Louisiana Department of Veterans' Services as well," Cardenas said.