Veteran services

Veterans Services to merge in North Attleboro, Plainville | Local News

NORTH ATTLEBORO — Plainville veterans slowly started going to Rebecca Jennings’ office last year seeking help from the North Attleboro veterans agent.

Although she already had more than 2,000 North Attleboro veterans to look after, Jennings took them in: A veteran herself, Jennings did not feel right to leave a returning soldier wading through the muddled waters of benefits and other resources.

Soon, however, she was serving up to five veterans a month from the nearby town. But she was limited in what she could do. Chapter 115 benefits can only be applied for through the city in which the veteran resides.

Jennings began thinking about how much more the two cities could offer if they worked together.

So a regional district for North Attleboro and Plainville Veterans Services debuted last month after a formal vote by both cities.

Jennings said the move will allow the two cities to combine resources and serve more veterans together, while lowering their respective costs by eliminating some of the duplicate overhead expenses.

The operation will operate out of North Attleboro Town Hall, with Jennings in the top job, and Plainville will inject $35,000 into the department’s overhead budget to help fund part of a part-time assistant position. full to take on some of the extra work. The Veterans Officer position in Plainville recently remained vacant and was temporarily occupied by a fire captain.

Jennings will also need a reclassification of his position, which will now be district manager rather than a single municipality.

Many details remain to be ironed out, but Jennings said she plans to spend one or two days in Plainville a week and direct veterans to North Attleboro for the rest of the week to centralize operations in the department.

Plainville has about 600 veterans.

City Administrator Michael Gallagher said the two cities agreed to set up the collaboration for a year to begin, giving them both the opportunity to reassess the effectiveness of the regional district before going forward.

“It’s an opportunity for us to do a really good job there,” Gallagher said.