Butler County veterans board needs a new director after resignation

Butler County Veterans Service Commission Executive Director Caroline Dineen resigned recently to take on a new assignment with Dayton Veterans Administration.

Dineen joined the commission six years ago. Vet Board President Chuck Weber said she walked into a “hornets nest” and helped the office work through its issues.

“She had a settling, calming, like Moses standing in from of the Red Sea, she’s had a calming effect on things,” Weber said. “She did a nice job of tying everybody together. I wish I would have had that talent in my management career, I’ve got my strengths but she’s certainly got a way with people.”

The commission, which serves roughly 26,000 veterans and oversees a $3 million budget, unanimously voted to hire Dineen in the summer of 2014, after former executive director Curt McPherson abruptly resigned in the midst of allegations he created a hostile work environment.

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The 47-year-old retired Marine said her new job offers her a lot of opportunities. She will be the administrative officer for Dayton VA National Cemetery.

“It’s just a way to help veterans in a different way,” Dineen said. “It’s just a different opportunity and it opens up other opportunities within the VA, potentially.”

The board appointed Chief Service Officer Matt Jones as the interim director and opened up the position in-house. Weber said they will accept applications from their own people until July 4. The post will be opened to the outside after that if they haven’t found someone.

Dineen beat out 17 other candidates when she was hired. She has resigned once before but that time it was due to the mistreatment she said she suffered under former commissioner Fred Southard. She quit after 11 months on the job but rescinded her resignation four days later after Southard resigned.

Under her guidance — and she also credits a new group of commissioners who have been very hands-on — the agency, before the coronavirus pandemic slowed things down, was serving more veterans than ever before.

The board started tracking the number of veterans served almost 20 years ago, in 2002. The monthly average was 230, with 2,761 vets helped overall. Last year, the average was 556 for a total of 6,673, which was 387 more than the previous year.

She said she is very proud of the agency she is leaving.

“One of my main goals was to repair the reputation of the agency and I think I was definitely able to do that,” she said. “I do feel that I am leaving the agency in a better condition than it was when I arrived. I think I set the tone for the staff but I think a lot of our success was we slowly got new commissioners on board who are more involved and more productive.”

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