Ardmore Veterans Center’s administrator has been selected to fill a newly-created position in response to a state audit of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs published last week.
Shawn Kirkland now serves as State Homes Director, an intermediary position meant to help the state’s veterans centers communicate with the department and vice versa.
“I think this position was missing, I think it’s only going to help,” Kirkland said. “There was something needed to improve communications between Oklahoma City and us at this level.”
According to an ODVA press release, the role was created to address breakdowns in communication within the department at the administrative level that were brought up by the audit.
“It’s really to help communication between all the homes and things that come into place, changes that are made,” Kirkland said, adding that he was appointed to the position after the audit came out.
“We wanted to make sure that many of those concerns were addressed quickly,” Kirkland said. “It was discussed pretty quickly, I was given the opportunity so I ran with it.”  
Kirkland said he’ll be tasked with helping Oklahoma’s centers adapt to and implement policy or operational changes as they come, listen to feedback and concerns from the staff and then bring it up with the state’s central office in Oklahoma City.
 “There’s a lot of things always changing and coming into place,” Kirkland said. “Having someone at the center level that can help put those things into place and not affect everyone’s day-to-day negatively is something I’m going to be challenged to do.”
Kirkland said he will still work in Ardmore primarily and travel to other centers when needed.