OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Following a months-long battle between state leaders and the executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs, a state commission has voted for a change.
According to NonDoc, the Veterans Commission voted to terminate the employment of Joel Kintsel, the executive director of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs.
The news comes about a month after Governor Kevin Stitt said publicly that he would fire Joel Kintsel if he had the authority.
“If they gave me the authority, I would fire the guy tomorrow,” said Stitt.
Kintsel has accused Governor Stitt of political retaliation for months, and believes that some members of the Veterans Commission were not legally appointed.
Kintsel ran for Governor in the Republican primary against Stitt and lost. In the months after, Stitt has replaced the entire Veterans Commission, the board that hires and fires the executive director.
The latest issue was about $22 million in damages incurred from a construction project in Sallisaw.
Kintsel said multiple times, the state can recover the costs from the company at fault.
But the commissioners want more details and called Kintsel’s leadership into question.
Veterans Commission meetings have been heated or have been cancelled recently because of the feuding between the two sides.
In February, Kintsel directed staff to not cooperate with the commissioners because he said the group is illegitimate.
Attorney General Gentner Drummond agreed with Kintsel, saying in a statement, three of the members were appointed “unlawfully.”
At a Feb. 15 Veterans Commission meeting, Kintsel did not show up. The commissioners had the opportunity to take action on Kintsel’s employment as executive director, but the conversation was tabled.