Mayor Eric Johnson announces a proposal to create a Veteran Affairs Commission on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2020, outside of Dallas City Hall. Courtesy of The Office of the Mayor.

The Dallas City Council unanimously passed an ordinance to establish a Veteran Affairs Commission last Wednesday which will take effect immediately. Mayor Eric Johnson initially proposed the creation of the commission on Veterans Day 2020. 

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The Veteran Affairs Commission will act as an advisory body to the city manager and city council and will evaluate programs, policies and practices designed to alleviate veterans’ difficulties in meeting basic needs and obtaining housing, employment and comprehensive mental health assistance. The commission will also accumulate information about the needs of veterans in the Dallas community and will act as a central clearinghouse for information related to the status of veterans in the community. 

“The Veteran Affairs Commission can help our city prepare our veterans to thrive in their lives after combat,” Johnson said. “We owe our veterans an incredible debt of gratitude for fighting on our behalf, and we must now fight for Dallas to become the best city for veterans in the United States.”

The commission will have 15 members, one appointed by each of the 15 city council members, including Mayor Johnson. Johnson will appoint the chair from among the members, following confirmation from the city council. The full city council will appoint the vice chair. 

The ordinance requires the commission to have a balanced membership reflecting “an outstanding interest in or knowledge of veterans’ affairs, including having knowledge about veterans’ concerns, or being affiliated with a service provider to veterans.” At least four members must either currently serve or have previously served in the U.S. military, which includes the National Guard. 

Initial members’ terms will expire Sep. 30. In August, nominations will begin for two-year terms that will begin Oct. 1.