Ed Vos, widely admired director since 2011 of the Dallas County Office of Veterans Affairs, surprised his county colleagues twice last month, first when he announced his resignation at the April 7 meeting of the Dallas County Board of Supervisors and then again two weeks later when he rejected an offered 18 percent boost in pay–from $54,000 to $64,000–to stay on the job.
Vos, a veteran of the U.S. war in Afghanistan and a popular radio comedian and stand-up comic, stood by his decision to resign his post, he said, in order to protest what he called the “broken” system of classifying county jobs.
“This is a system that does not reward people for doing exceptional things,” he said.
News of Vos’ departure might have been fumbled by the county’s office of human resources. He said he submitted a 30-day written notice of his intention to resign to Dallas County Human Resources Director Erin Freeman on Friday, April 3, but Freeman did not communicate Vos’ decision to the Dallas County Board of Supervisors prior to their Tuesday, April 7 meeting.
During the April 7 meeting, the supervisors sent for Vos, who expected they wanted to talk about his resignation. Instead, they asked him what office space he intended to occupy at the new Human Services Campus north of Adel, which is currently undergoing renovation.
“I won’t be occupying any office space,” Vos told the the surprised supervisors, “because I’m resigning my position effective May 7.”
In subsequent negotiations, the supervisors offered Vos the hefty raise, and he accepted their offer, according to an email Vos sent to Supervisor Kim Chapman.
“Please disregard my response submitted yesterday afternoon,” Vos wrote to Chapman April 18. “I will accept your offer and remain as the Dallas County Director of Veterans Affairs.” Vos’ only demand was the raise in pay should take effect immediately rather than with the start of the new fiscal year July 1.
At the April 21 supervisors meeting, however, Vos again surprised the board, telling them he had “decided to return to the private sector” and claiming the board’s offer of more money was “not as much about saving my job as about saving yours.”
At the same meeting , more than a dozen people spoke in open forum in praise of Vos and his work in the Dallas County Office of Veterans Affairs.
Steve Neal, member of the Dexter American Legion Post 419, said, “Ed is stellar, and that’s an adjective I’ve never used.”
Neal’s fellow Dexter Legionnaire Chuck Thompson said, “Ed Vos is a treasure. He is very highly valued for the skill he brings to the job. He stands head and shoulders above everyone I’ve dealt with.”
Ninety-three-year-old Korean War Veteran Richard Felt, chair of the Dallas County Veterans Commission, said Vos will be difficult if not impossible to replace.
A number of Dallas County elected officeholders and county department heads also spoke in praise of Vos, who did not waver in his determination to quit.
After the April 21 meeting, U.S. Army veteran and Dallas County Auditor Gener Krumm, using the salty language usual to soldiers, said to Vos, “I’d like to kick your ass and make you stay but since you’re bigger than I am, I guess you can leave.”
Vos received many hugs and pats on the back after the meeting. He said his only job prospect was a two-week temporary radio job at $10 an hour. Reached May 24, on the eve of Memorial Day, Vos sounded upbeat but vague about his current circumstances.
“Everything’s great,” he said. Asked whether he could be more specific, he said, “Everything’s great, and I have no regrets.”
He said the praise he received at the April 21 supervisors meeting was “very humbling,” but he has no plans to return to serving veterans, intending instead to pursue “something in radio.”
“I’ve moved on,” he said. “I have no regrets. It’s not my concern what the county’s going to do. That’s what they have elected officials for, so they can figure it out.”
By all accounts, Vos provided exemplary service to Dallas County’s veterans.
“But I’m ready to move on from this situation,” he said. “That’s where I’m at. It’s in the past for me. I’m moving forward.”
Brad Golightly, chair of the Dallas County Board of Supervisors, said the offer made to Vos was “irregular,” and the board is working with the Dallas County Veterans Commission on a solution.