Veterans Corner: Changes to VA employee policies

Community Contributed

By Jesse Church

Aloha all my fellow veterans and people of Molokai, old Jesse here with all the veterans news and upcoming events. Well, now that the Veterans Center has been officially dedicated and opened, it’s time to use the center, to fill it with veterans events during the day, and at night, to have fundraisers. Don’t let it sit empty, put it to good use. It was not built to sit empty. So let’s starting doing fundraisers and veterans’ events there.

The House is rolling right along with legislation that would greatly increase the authority of top Dept. of Veterans Affairs officials to get rid of underperforming employees and put tight limits on the length of time for fired or demoted VA employees to appeal. It would also tighten limits to be put on paid suspensions, and House Republicans who back the bill say it would bring accountability to an agency that is in great need of it. Everyone knows that the VA has a lot of very real issues and it very been untruthful and have moved very slowly on what needs to be addressed.

Those issues are an increased patient load of Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans that will continue to increase for years. They also have a larger outdated and inadequate information technology systems that make scheduling, treating and tracking patients an almost impossible task. In my mind, the solution to the problem is not to get rid of more people, but to simply give the VA the resources it needs to meet its quickly growing responsibilities, and to not create a separate set of federal employment rules just for the VA. The VA needs more employees, not less. It just needs the right skills in the right jobs at the right place, and it needs them yesterday. Capitol Hill needs to work with the VA, not against it. We are all involved in this together – the government, the VA and the veterans, and we must all work in rhythm and make the VA a well-oiled machine.

On this date in history, Aug. 24-26, 1992, Hurricane Andrew slammed through South Florida, killing at least 15 people, destroying 85,000 homes and causing more than $15 billion in damage. It was the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history to that day. On Aug. 27, 1999, scientists reported that for the first time ever, water in liquid form had been found in an object from outer space, a meteorite discovered in Texas.

Please continue to support all our brave men and women in uniform wherever they may be stationed and pray for a speedy and safe return home, especially those in harm’s way. It’s time to say goodbye until next week to all the people I love, every man, woman and child on Molokai, you are my family. Have a great week.

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