There's a new face in the Clay County Courthouse.
For the past three weeks, Vermillion native Cynthia Aden has been in training to take over the role of the county's veterans service assistant, planning and zoning administrator and welfare director.
"I'm going to replace Ray Hofman, who's going to become our register of deeds," Aden said. "Ray and I and (current Register of Deeds) Betty McCambridge are kind of doing this round-robin thing. By Jan. 1 the final transition is supposed to take place."
Aden comes to the position from the private sector, working most recently in Sioux Falls as human resources manager for U.S. Venture.She said she was ready to make a change.
"I was commuting to Sioux Falls, which was becoming a nightmare, and I wanted very much to not have to drive that anymore," she said.Aden is a graduate of Vermillion High School, and with her husband, John – a retired battalion chief with the Sioux Falls Fire Department – she lives close to the farm north of town on which she grew up.
"About seven years ago, my husband and I purchased some of the land from my mother, built a house down here and moved back to the area," she said.
For now, Aden said she is trying to learn what the responsibilities of her new positions entail before the arrival of the Jan. 1 deadline.
"I'm just trying to figure out as much as I can before Ray has to go to his new job totally. Fortunately, he's just across the hall. I am very lucky. I'm taking over a position, and have the incumbent right at hand," she said with a laugh.
Of her three new roles, Aden said that of veterans service assistant may be the most special to her.
"To be the veterans service officer, you have to be a veteran yourself," she said.
Aden served in the Army from 1975 to 1978.
"I'm proud to continue to serve my country, even though I'm doing it as a civilian now," she said.
Her job duties in this area "run the gamut," she said, from helping veterans who have recently been discharged to those who haven't served in years.
Aden already is working with several veterans in filing disability claims.
"Whatever we can do for veterans is what the veterans service officer does," she said.
As planning and zoning administrator, Aden will be working with building permits, plat approval and land use regulation, among other things.
"The welfare side is the emergency assistance for medical care," she said. "We're the last resort, so to speak, for assistance. …
"I'm probably more comfortable with the veterans service and welfare side," Aden said. "They relate a lot more closely to what I was doing before. Planning and zoning, I need to learn a lot."