View signed Executive Order as a PDF pdf format of Executive Order No. 538

By His Excellency







WHEREAS, the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts established a constitution declaring that all people have “certain natural, essential and unalienable rights; among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties;” and

WHEREAS, the citizens of the Commonwealth were among the first to take up arms in defense of the aforementioned lives and liberties; and                                                          

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth is extremely proud of its men and women who have continued to answer the nation's call to arms to preserve and defend its lives and liberties; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth recognizes that its veterans, particularly former prisoners of war and those with service-related disabilities, have unique needs as a result of the hardship and sacrifices of military service; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth understands the immediate needs of veterans of the military engagements in the Gulf War, Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as the needs of all who have served in other conflicts; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth has always been committed to advancing the opportunities of its veterans, to ensuring equal opportunity in public and private employment, and to developing services that will enable all of its veterans to maximize their participation in the social and economic life of the Commonwealth and the nation;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Deval L. Patrick, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution, Part 2, c. 2, § I, Art. I, do hereby revoke Executive Order No. 483 and order that: 
Section 1.  There is hereby re-established the Governor's Advisory Council on Veterans' Services.  The Council shall advise the Governor and the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Veterans’ Services on issues relating to veterans of the Commonwealth. 

Section 2.  The Council shall review and assess state and federal statutes and programs relating to veterans, and the delivery of services to veterans, including health care, education and access to the GI Bill, housing, outreach, training and retraining, so that it can educate the people of the Commonwealth and their elected and appointed officials regarding issues of importance to the Commonwealth’s veterans.

Section 3.  The Council may call upon the Secretary of Veterans’ Services to supply statistical data, program reports, and other information and assistance necessary to perform its work.

Section 4. The Council shall be chaired by the Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth and shall consist of not more than 50 members.  Each member, other than the Chair, shall be appointed by the Governor and serve at his pleasure, without compensation, in an advisory capacity for a term of three years.

Section 5.  The Council’s members shall be selected by the Governor from the following: 

  • American Gold Star Mothers;
  • The American Legion;
  • Disabled American Veterans;
  • Employer Support for the Guard and Reserve;
  • Jewish War Veterans;
  • Gold Star Wives of America;
  • Governor’s Advisory Committee on Women Veterans;
  • Marine Corps League;
  • Massachusetts Municipal Association;
  • Military Friends Foundation;
  • National League of Families;
  • Organization of African-American Veterans;
  • Paralyzed Veterans of America;
  • Provider of Homelessness Services;
  • Provider of Outreach Services;
  • Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom;
  • Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom;
  • Veterans of Foreign Wars;
  • and two Veterans Service Officers

The following officials, or their designees, shall serve as ex officio members of the Council: 

  • The Massachusetts State Senate Co-Chair from the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs;
  • The Massachusetts House of Representatives Co-Chair from the Joint Committee on Veterans and Federal Affairs;
  • The Secretaries of Education, Elder Affairs, Health and Human Services, Housing and Economic Development, Labor and Workforce Development, and the Department of Veterans’ Services;
  • The Commissioner of the Department of Early Education and Care; the Commissioner of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education; the Commissioner of the Department of Higher Education, the Commissioner of Mental Health; the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission;
  • The Commandant of the Massachusetts Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea;
  • The Superintendent of the Holyoke Soldiers’ Homes;
  • The Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard;
  • and the Director of the Human Resources Division.    

The United States Department of Veterans Affairs and the United States Department of Labor will be invited to participate.

Section 6.  The Council shall meet at least quarterly at the direction of the Chair and shall submit an annual report to the Governor and to the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Veterans’ Services.

Section 7.  The Council will have two permanent subcommittees.

  1. The Subcommittee on Student Veterans
    1. Membership of this subcommittee will be appointed by the Chair in consultation with the Secretary of Veterans’ Services, the Secretary of Education, and the Commissioner of the Department of Higher Education.
  2. The Subcommittee on Jobs, Employment, Training and Retraining for Veterans
    1. Membership of this subcommittee will be appointed by the Chair in consultation with the Secretary of Veterans’ Services, the Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development, and the Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, not to exceed 15 members.

Section 8.  The Chair may direct the Council to form additional subcommittees to focus on particular challenges facing veterans in the Commonwealth.  The composition of each committee shall be determined by the Chair. 

Section 9.  This Executive Order shall take effect on November 11, 2011 and shall continue in effect until amended, superseded or revoked by subsequent Executive Order.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 11th day of November in the year of our Lord two thousand and eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America two hundred and thirty-five.

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Secretary of the Commonwealth