Polk to make newly hired veteran services officer full-time in July

Published 9:30 pm Thursday, May 18, 2017

COLUMBUS – Polk County has a new veteran services officer who was hired recently and will become a full-time employee beginning July 1.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday, May 15 and were introduced to Gina Cashion.

Commissioners had been in discussion since the retirement of former veteran services officer Darrell Moore about hiring someone to replace him as soon as possible, as well as the option of making the position full-time instead of part-time.

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Cashion will work from now until July 1 as part-time but plans are for her to go to full-time beginning in the county’s new fiscal year. The county has not yet approved the new budget with the full-time position, but will do so prior to June 30.

Commissioner Ray Gasperson thanked county manager Marche Pittman for following the wishes of the board, saying the board voted unanimously a few weeks ago to keep the position part-time until budget discussions when the county could find money to make it full-time.

Commissioner chair Tommy Melton was the one who disagreed with waiting on making the position full-time. He pushed recently to have the full-time status implemented immediately and to hire someone immediately so Moore could train the new hire.

“I’m proud to announce we were able to approve Gina for a full-time position,” Melton said Monday. “The veterans need to be protected.”

Prior to her Polk County employment, which began May 4, Cashion served in multiple roles in law enforcement in Texas and then at the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina before retiring.

In her introduction, Polk County Consolidated Human Services Director Joshua Kennedy said Cashion is very energetic, so retirement did not suit her well. She then went to work for Homeland Security prior to joining Polk County.

“I am very excited with this position that I have been given and hope to do a wonderful job,” Cashion told commissioners.

She said her office is currently open Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m.-1 p.m.

Cashion said so far she has received a lot of phone calls from veterans and had 10 walk-ins. She said people may not yet be aware that the director position has been hired since Moore’s retirement. She also said she has been in training one day per week.

The veteran services office is located at 75 Carmel Lane, Columbus. Veterans can visit the office or call 828-894-0003 or contact Cashion via email at gcashion@polknc.org for any needed assistance.