Former judge named director of Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency

Gov. Rick Snyder tapped James Redford as director of the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency. He was named MVAA interim director on Feb. 19, following audits at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans focusing on medical administration, member care documentation, handling of complaints and financial management. It also addressed staff shortages and non-narcotic pharmaceutical controls. Snyder pledged each audit finding would be addressed.

In the past two months, Redford has worked with Michigan Veteran Health System CEO Leslie Shanlian to strengthen the health system and update both state veterans homes.

A member of the Walter Durkee American Legion Post 311  Redford served 28 years as a JAG Officer in the Navy, including five years active duty and another 23 in the Navy Reserve. He was a military trial judge for five years in the Navy Reserves and had three tours as a commanding officer of the Navy Reserve Trial Judiciary, the Reserve Navy Legal Service Office and the civil litigation unit in Washington D.C., before  retiring as a captain in 2012. He received the Legion of Merit, six Navy and Marine Corps commendation medals and two Navy Achievement medals. 

On the civilian side, he was a federal prosecutor taking on drug rings and money laundering organizations as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Western District of Michigan 1990 - 1995.  He then became the district coordinator for health care and banking fraud cases. In 1998, he became a partner in the Plunkett & Cooney law firm in Grand Rapids. He was elected in 2002 to the Kent County Circuit Court bench, where he served for 12 years.  Prior to his appointment to MVAA, he served as Gov. Snyder’s chief legal counsel.

Redford graduated from John Carroll University before receiving his J.D. degree from the University of Detroit.