Elections – Politics – California: I Support Larry Elder!

Angry Wet ChickenI support citizens who desire to become elected leaders.  I refuse to support politicians!  Worse, I detest with every fiber of my being politics in its many forms.  I hate politics and those who engage in politics from business to the military, from the classroom to the boardroom, and from the private sector to the government sector!  Elections matter until they are stolen and become a farce by those who desire to rule, and this is why California, the recall election of that detestable politician Gavin Newsom, and politics matter to every single person in America.  In the US Navy, when my department officer told me to “Play the game,” he meant to play politics.  To the minions of hell who delight in playing politics, I have found being honest, forthright, and valiant is better, and you will not win!

We begin with a review, for too often, people think they know the meaning of a word, and the entire etymology of that word is where the trouble lay.  Politics is one of these terms that comes with lots of baggage, tons of hidden layers, and enough plastic to choke the world’s oceans!  We must be clear about what politics is to recognize when political animals are trying to commit acts of political villainy.

What is Politics?

QuestionPlease note that emphasis has been added to key phrases to support knowledge of the complete etymology and enhance awareness.  Frankly, I would be ashamed to be called a politician.  Being called a politician means I possess a derogatory approach to my constituency and am only concerned with seeking power, usually through devious means.  As a Noun, politics are “the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, especially the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.”

      • The activities of governments concerning the political relations between countries.”
      • The academic study of government and the state.”
      • Activities within an organization that aimed at improving someone’s status or position and are typically considered to be devious or divisive.”
      • A particular set of political beliefs or principles.”
      • The assumptions or principles relating to or inherent in a sphere, theory, or thing, especially when concerned with power and status in a society.”

As a Verb, politic/s is derogatory and is defined as “engaging in political activities.”

From Old French Politique “political,” Latin from Greek Politikos, and Polits “citizen” and Polis “city.”  Thus, we have described the term politics in all its glory and inhumanity.  Is the term more understood?

The Duty of AmericansPolitics is a descriptive tool used to identify certain human activities where power is sought, and devious means and divisive gestures are employed to obtain that power.  Every action tied to securing power through devious means and divisive gestures is politics or political, which means derogatory.  For those needing more, derogatory is “showing a critical or disrespectful attitude.”  Thus, at the root, politicians by their very name and nature are derogatory towards those who elect them into power.

What are Elections?

Exclamation MarkElections are the formal process for selecting another for an office, leadership, or choosing a person or favorable course of action.  Key to elections is that they are formal, which means there are rules, laws, guidelines, regulations, and penalties for the officers selected to monitor the election process.  One of the most egregious actions of the 2020 elections was breaking the rules, laws, and regulations of the formal election process in the primaries, which then extended into the actual election day results.  Why bring up the 2020 Federal Election farrago?  Because as of 25 August 2021, the same pattern is occurring in California, again!  Ballots are going missing, ballots are being dumped in trash cans, mail-in ballots without signatures, fraudulent ballots are being injected into the counts, etc., ad nauseam ad infinitum.

The 2020 Federal Election farrago proved that through fraud, deceit, and the purchase of local elected officials, elections could be thrown to whichever candidate had sufficient money to pay for the politics needed to win.  Where are integrity and honesty in the election process; they left for the Jersey shore, got mugged, and are lying under a “John Doe” in some backwater hospital on life support.  I support Larry Elder for Governor of California, but I do not think the Newsom Political machine will allow him a fair and honest election opportunity!

LookThus, the problem for ALL of AMERICA right now!  Primaries are coming, political futures hang in the balance, and the media know that the liberal madness and tyranny from COVID-Mandates has left a bitter taste in every person’s mouth.  The polls show no politician being trusted, and if the political machines are to keep paying dividends to special and private interests, then those investing in their favorite politician are going to have to pony up serious cash to buy the elections officials right now to protect the sleaze in office from the school board and Mayor to the president!

The elections in a representative government must remain sacrosanct, or representative government fails!  Yet, do you honestly trust the results of any of the elections since 2000 and the “Chad” fiasco in Florida?  I am not asking you to support any candidate; this platform does not advocate for or against any candidate.  I advocate for people; I advocate for liberty and the health of the American Republic.  Elections matter, voting is important, but politics is hurting America, and the citizenry needs to understand this concept.

Knowledge Check!Tell me, after the last two weeks of being ignored by the US President, with American Citizens being placed last, if at all, on the priority list in Afghanistan, do you feel represented by your government?  California, let’s discuss some truths; your politicians are some of the most hated and despised politicians in the American political system; they win with the lowest approval ratings and polling standards, time after time.  Sure, these politicians gerrymandered the living daylights out of their districts, but even then, they should have lost a long time ago.  Have you ever stopped to ask yourself why these hated imbeciles keep winning office in Sacramento and Washington DC?

California, how did Governor Moonbeam ever make a comeback in your state?  How did Newsom the loser ever keep his job as Mayor, let alone win the seat as governor?  I watched those elections; I keep asking myself how, why, where do the votes come from?  Then the Federal Election of 2020 occurred.  It became apparent; the patterns of winning in California have leaked across America. The same way to win keeping politicians in office in Chicago and Las Vegas moved to perfection in California and then across America.  Fraud, deceit, skullduggery, gerrymandering, and the political purchasing of local election officials and attorneys, judges, and other easily bribed public officials.

Does the derogatory nature, the hatred, and the duplicity of the politician shine through from those holding elected office right now?  Is the definition more clear and the need for sundering politics from government more apparent?  Is it clear why politics should not be part of government?Angry Grizzly Bear

Nobody is “Too BIG to Fail,” even the government, and it is past time for the elected officials and the bureaucrats dependent upon the political machine to begin to fear an open ballot box and an angry electorate!  It is time to ask who paid the postmen to dump the ballots?  Who paid the government employees to shuffle the ballots, copy ballots, and accept fraudulent votes?  It is past time to question the legitimacy, integrity, and informational security of the electronic voting machines and have transparency in voting.  It is past time for mandatory ID, one vote, one ID, and a biometric tag to protect against fraudulent ballots, stuffed ballot boxes, and mailed-in ballot duplicity.

cropped-bird-of-prey.jpgYou, the American citizen, are needed!  Awake and Arise!  Find your strength and stand before it is too late and your country has fallen an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle while you slept!  History will judge you and me for what we do and say right now; let them record we did not allow the American Experiment to fail on our watch; we fought back against the tide of tyranny and oppression and won!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

Teaching the President Responsibility – I Never Thought I Would See the Day!

Angry Wet ChickenPresident Biden, you, and your administration disgust me!  I did not vote for you, but I was willing to support you as president back in January and show you respect.  Even though I continue to have reservations regarding the veracity of the 2020 Elections, the transparency of the election counts, and the skullduggery witnessed, I was willing to give you a chance.  Your actions in Afghanistan have sundered my cherub-like demeanor and turned the extended olive branch into a torch for your pyre!

Let me be perfectly clear, the blood of every soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, who has served, is serving, or will serve in Afghanistan is on your hands for your ineffective and wholly useless policy in that country!  Worse, the tears and blood of children being abused, murdered, raped, and assaulted are also on your hands.  You allowed a mostly peaceful situation to become an open and festering warzone, again, and it is all your fault!  You cannot blame Congress, you cannot hide behind the media, you cannot shirk accountability behind generals and pentagon officials, you are the Commander in Chief, and it is your sole responsibility to lead the armed forces of these United States.

Sure, we in the service swear an oath to the U.S. Constitution and the officers appointed over us, but the first officer we pledge obedience to is the U.S. President.  You, sir, need to learn responsibility for the men and women you lead.  I plan to teach you and every American who is privileged to read this article the power of the office and the responsibility of the office you hold.  How will I instruct you; through the U.S. Presidents who came before you!Angry Grizzly Bear

The power of Commander in Chief is derived from the U.S. Constitution:

Article II Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the Commander in Chief clause, states that “[t]he President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States when called into the actual Service of the United States.”

Mr. President, you need to take two lessons from President General George Washington.

      1. But lest some unlucky event should happen unfavorable to my reputation, I beg every gentleman may remember it in the room that I this day declare with the utmost sincerity, I do not think myself equal to the command I am honored with.”
      2. In politics as in philosophy, my tenets are few and simple. The leading one of which, and indeed that which embraces most others, is, to be honest, and just ourselves and to exact it from others, meddling as little as possible in their affairs where our own are not involved. If this maxim were generally adopted, wars would cease, and our swords would soon be converted into reap hooks, and our harvests be more peaceful, abundant, and happy.”

Do you understand these two fundamental principles of being the Commander in Chief?  Humility is not a weakness but an inner strength to know and do what is right in exercising your command.  You were given the greatest honor possible, to lead men, and women, into battle, and you have pissed that honor away for trinkets not worth a mess of pottage!Plato 2

The second principle of being the Commander in Chief is demanding honesty, first from yourself, then from others.  Is the job too big for you? It’s no shame to admit you are in over your head.  It is no shame to realize you need help.  It is a crime to act like you have the brains and talent, lying to yourself, while the world burns like Rome and Nero fiddles!  Your counselors, administration, and vice president are all crooks, scoundrels, and fools, but you have the responsibility!  This is why honesty is so desperately needed and fundamentally critical.

President Jefferson provides the following principle for the Commander in Chief, and while President General George Washington embodied this principle, President Jefferson said it best:

If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed.”

Knowledge Check!Are you informed about the consequences of your decisions?  If so, why are you continuing to adhere to wrongheaded decisions that are destroying America, ruining Afghanistan, and allowing China to threaten her neighbors, bully her neighbors, and be the aggressor party in a prelude to war?  Do you not understand that your responsibility for the consequences of your decisions is eternal, and you owe the God of this land, even Jesus Christ, accounting for how you have led during your time in office?  The blood of innocent people is on your hands because you and your advisors have refused to listen, refused to act, and chosen the worst possible action when working to the detriment of everyone on this planet.  You are actively failing as a president; does this not matter to you?

Inherent in the law is the following axiom:

Ignorance of the law is not an excuse for breaking the law.”

You need to understand this principle, for failure to be learned is not an excuse, ignorance of the law is not an excuse, and ignorance of the consequences is not an excuse.  You cannot blame your staff when standing before a judge and jury, nor can you evade responsibility and accountability. Honestly, the responsibility ultimately stops at your desk, the music ends, and you are left holding the bag full of whatever crap landed on your desk.The Duty of Americans

President Jefferson also provides the following axiom for a Commander in Chief, one which you have avoided your entire life, and it is time you were made to should this burden as an adult!

A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society.”

What does this mean; allow me to explain using your example.  Your first, Second, and Third attempts at running for president were fraught with verbal gaffes where outright lies, bald-faced untruths, and plagiarized speech were put forth for the public as your ideas and ideals.  Thus making you a liar, a thief, and the worst sort of scoundrel possible, yet, through gerrymandering and a lot of money and your Jello-like spine, you have managed to stay in office long past your maximum level of incompetence.  What sort of moral society have you been promoting and living in?  Do you realize you are responsible for that moral decay you have been broadcasting from your senate office?  Do you know that your morals are now being stamped upon the military, and the military is going to find that your morals do not fit the honor, courage, and commitment needed to fulfill the mission?  The Uniform Code of Military Justice, which you now fall under as Commander in Chief, would find you guilty and in need of severe punishment.  How can a soldier, airmen, Marine, sailor, etc., go before the mast for UCMJ punishment with you as Commander in Chief and be found guilty of morals you exemplify daily?  By the way, this is the same problem your buddy Obama suffered from for eight damnable years when he occupied your chair!Patriotism

Speaking of eternal consequences, and being the Commander in Chief, President Lincoln has some choice words for you to learn.

      1. In times like the present, men should utter nothing for which they would not willingly be responsible through time and eternity.”
      2. You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
      3. With this honor devolves upon you also a corresponding responsibility. As the country herein trusts you, so under GOD, it will sustain you, [or utterly reject you].”

Knowledge Check!As you have been weighed, measured, and found wanting, I will take a moment and explain to you what these three quotes mean for the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces.  Firstly, watch your language.  You have not done very well with this in the past.  Your lies, half-truths, falsehoods, and plagiarized speech is beyond contempt, but the useless speeches you keep giving threatening to put legal and law-abiding citizens in prison for the sole crime of making a living is beyond detestable and shows a definitive lack of character.

Secondly, your words last for eternity.  I remember watching you as a child and thinking, “Putz!” Then cheering when the news broke that you had chucked your campaign for president.  How wonderful the Internet is for bringing back your words for your shame and discomfort, and how I enjoy watching your comments fall from your lips and condemn you for the liar and cheat you are.

Thirdly, those crimes are coming back in spades by trying to evade responsibility yesterday for being a liar and cheat, a thief, and a robber.  But, you have been placed into a position of honor for which you are not comfortable, for which you have not the strength, stamina, and mental fortitude to perform the necessary duties the role commands.  Who is making the decisions in the White House?  Why?

Dont Tread On MeFinally, we come to the absolute crux of the matter.  As Commander in Chief, the honor of commanding men and women in the military comes with a corresponding responsibility. The country loves her military and trusts you to treat them appropriately.  You did not do so in January and got a minor backlash.  You are not doing so in Afghanistan and will catch a much higher backlash as the media watches a repeat of Saigon in Kabul as the Embassy is evacuated.  Your buddy Obama has a dead Ambassador he has never answered for, which (historically) has always been a declaration of war.  What do you have?  An entire country laid to waste, the waste of millions of dollars in materials, millions of lives destroyed, and the wasted efforts of millions of people and multiple presidents.  You have betrayed the American people’s trust, and you will be held accountable, just like your good friend Mayor Lightfoot (with stickyfingers) is being held accountable in Chicago, only many, many magnitudes worse!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used here were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

It IS ALL About Leadership – More Shameful VA Chronicles

I-CareRecently, guardianships have been in the news, and I doubt this story will make the lawyers very happy.  The department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG) reports that an Albuquerque couple has been sentenced for defrauding guardians, which included veterans.  The criminal report claims:

Susan Harris acted as president and was the 95-percent owner of Ayudando, while Moore acted as chief financial officer and was a five-percent owner. They engaged in a pattern of criminal conduct from November 2006 to July 2017 that included unlawfully transferring money from client accounts to a comingled account without any client-based justification.  They wrote and endorsed numerous checks, often of more than $10,000, from these comingled accounts to themselves, family members, cash, and other parties where payment would benefit their families.”

For the better part of 11 years, this couple has spent money not their own, abused their charges, and defrauded vulnerable clientele.  While the federal attorneys and investigators crow about catching this couple and ending this situation; what about all the rest of the guardianships where abuse is occurring?  I have read horrific stories about victims of guardianship abuse and hope more will be done on this topic very shortly!VA 3

For 11 years, where were the VA and the Social Security Administration?  Where were the local hospital leadership, social workers, and other federal employees who had to have known something fishy was going on?  Where are these Federal Employees now?  Where are the politicians scrutinizing this incident to ensure that protection for vulnerable citizens never happens again through legal guardianships?

Now traveling to Eastern Oklahoma VAHCS in Muskogee where an audiologist provided poor care and billed for unrendered services.  Pay close attention to the VA-OIG report; the leadership failures on this report alone are voluminous and unforgivable!

A facility fact-finding review revealed the audiologist provided poor care to eight of 43 patients reviewed, including misinforming patients who needed hearing aids that hearing aids were not needed. Although the audiology leaders reported the fact-finding results to the OIG, they failed to evaluate whether patients needed clinical follow-up; determine whether additional patients were affected by the audiologist’s poor care; evaluate whether clinical disclosures were required for the affected patients; and communicate the fact-finding results to the Facility Director, who was, therefore, unable to initiate the process to determine the necessity of a large scale disclosure. The instances of poor care were also not reported to the Patient Safety Manager, who was, as a result, unable to assess the adverse events to determine if patient safety interventions were indicated. The VA-OIG also found that performance monitoring of facility audiologists was not conducted as required. Annual competency assessments and annual performance appraisals were not consistently completed and did not contain adequate performance standards. Audiology leaders failed to consider whether the audiologist’s actions warranted a report to the state licensing board due to a lack of understanding of the requirements for reporting and, therefore, the Facility Director was not informed of the need to initiate a state licensing board review” [emphasis mine].

Will, someone please tell me, were the audiology leaders who failed to perform their jobs removed from Federal Employment?  What about the audiologists causing the problems?  Are they removed from Federal Employment?  Were their licensing practices curbed to protect other populations of patients?  The leadership failures here read like a Steven King horror story but do not have the satisfaction of finishing the story.VA 3

Yet, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) will continue to market that they are “defining quality in healthcare.”  The jokes write themselves but cannot be fired from Federal Employment!  Politicians, why can these jokers not be fired from Federal employment for such egregious abuse of their positions and failures to do their jobs?

I-CareTraveling further to North Carolina, we find that the perpetrator of this fraud has pled guilty, but again responsibility, accountability, and correction of the VA is being skirted.

John Paul Cook, 57, of Alexander, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to defrauding the VA. After enlisting in the Army in 1985, Cook sustained an accidental injury and complained the injury worsened a preexisting eye condition. In 1987, Cook was discharged, and he began receiving benefits that would increase over the next 30 years due to Cook’s repeated false claims of increased visual impairment and unemployability. In 2005, the VA declared Cook legally blind, and he began receiving disability-based compensation at the maximum rate despite repeatedly passing vision screening tests to obtain or renew his driver’s license and purchasing vehicles that he routinely drove.”

1987 to 2020, we will be generous in counting the years here; regardless, we are looking at 30+ years this fraud continued.  Where were the verification protocols?  I have had to produce a valid driver’s license at the VA to obtain and keep current my VA identification card.  How did this fraud go on for so long?  What is the VA doing to stop, or at least hinder, those who would defraud the government before the problem becomes 10 years old, let alone 30?!?!  I cannot fathom how this fraud went on for so long without a routine checkup, a routine exam, a follow-up exam, etc.VA 3

Going north from South Carolina, we find more fraud, this time in New Jersey, where a man did not report his mother had deceased and continued to claim her benefits for a total of over $200K.

Melvin Greenspan, 72, of Perrineville, New Jersey, pleaded guilty to defrauding VA of over $200,000 in survivor’s pension benefits. After the death of his mother in 2006, who had received survivor’s pension due to his father’s prior military service, Greenspan failed to notify the VA about his mother’s death and made withdrawals of the benefits through 2018.”

Where was the leadership?  Where are the leaders now?  Another fraud case, older than a decade, and still the VA cannot be held accountable for facilitating the fraud.  I am stunned!  How did this one continue for so long?  Doesn’t the VA check local newspapers, the Social Security Administration, other Federal Agencies?  Since the culprit was not held on defrauding SSA, one can only presume the mother’s death was reported there.  Why did the VA not get notified to ask the family questions?VA 3

On the topic of guardians and leadership, the following story makes me angry!  However, I will withhold further elaboration since those accused remain innocent until proven guilty by a trial of their peers.

Johnny Ray Gasca, 51, was arrested for allegedly abducting a 68-year-old woman with dementia from the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center in California. A witness recognized Gasca and reported he might have previously taken money from the woman’s bank and retirement accounts. Following his arrest, Gasca described the victim as his girlfriend and told agents that they stopped at a bank where the victim made a $15,000 withdrawal after leaving the medical center.”

In the first report from the VA-OIG discussed, we found guardianship rules being violated to the Nth degree.  In this story, we have no information of an assigned guardian, and we have a dementia patient being abused.  The dementia patient was traveling with a friend; who is the legal guardian for a dementia patient?  Where are the family or friends legally bonded to render aid for this patient and monitor finances to protect them from abuse?  How can the VA operate one way in one locale and 180-degrees differently in another locale and the leadership not held accountable?VA 3

Speaking of missing leadership, the following VA-OIG report is a beauty!  The Department of Veterans Affairs – Veterans Health Administration (VHA) has a program to help homeless veterans, where contractors are used, and the VHA uses case management documentation to verify the veteran is receiving the assistance being paid for, the program is called the contracted residential services (CRS) program.

The VA-OIG found facility staff did not consistently document case management and monitor the progress of veterans in the program.  Further, four of the 14 CRS contracts reviewed had performance deficiencies, with one resulting in improper payments of $592,000. These deficiencies may affect the health and safety of veterans living in transitional settings. Moreover, VA lacks assurance that veterans received required services. There were also contract administration problems in 13 of 14 reviewed contracts. Contracting officers did not always properly delegate responsibilities to staff functioning as contracting officer’s representatives. Further, one facility’s representative did not ensure contractors provided meals or the means to purchase them, as required, and another lacked invoice supporting documentation for approval. The VA-OIG audit team estimated that 107 of 119 contracts had monitoring and administration deficiencies. Furthermore, the team estimated that VHA made $35.3 million in improper payments, of which approximately $21.6 million was technically improper because the individuals authorizing payment were not delegated authority to serve as contracting officer’s representatives.”

If your accomplishment rate in your employment was 48%, would you retain your job for very long?  If 90% of your documentation claiming how well you do your job was missing or fabricated, how long would you maintain employment?  If you delegated people to complete your work who were unauthorized and you were contractually culpable, how long do you think you would stay out of prison?  How long would your boss stay out of jail?  How long would your company exist?  Now, answer me this riddler, why does the government get a pass on these questions?VA 3

Finally, we have Deputy Inspector General David Case’s testimony regarding the failure of VA leadership where the implementation of a new electronic health record (EHR) is being stalled.  If you care, the VA leadership and the VHA leadership are failing the EHR initiative.  Not that this was not expected, and not that this is not surprising, the IT and IS departments of the VA and VHA are so hopelessly lost it amazes me the VA is even using computers and not written records!  But, do not take my word for it, Case himself claims,

“Detailed in this statement, we have repeatedly found unreliable and incomplete estimates for upgrades and costs, inadequate reporting affecting transparency to Congress, and stove-piped governance with decision making that does not appropriately engage Veterans Health Administration (VHA) personnel who are the end-users of the new EHR system.”VA 3

Knowledge Check!Get that; the leadership failures are obstructing Congress and hindering the EHR progress!  What can we conclude from this batch of VA-OIG reports:

        1. The VA, VHA, VBA, and National Cemetery leadership are actively missing, like the Democrats from the Texas Legislature.
        2. If the leaders are present, the leaders are the problems in progressing.
        3. The leaders have created a system where fraud and abuse of the veterans and taxpayers can be achieved with ease.
        4. Nobody in the US House of Representatives or US Senate scrutinizes the legislative branch sufficiently to effect changes.
        5. When in doubt about where your leaders fall, check to see if they are in their offices. Oh, wait, that won’t help, their offices have locks on the doors!

If this is how the VA defines quality healthcare. In that case, the veterans are screwed, the taxpayer is sunk, and the leaders will enjoy their magnanimous federally approved retirement packages, ad nauseam ad infinitum!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

 

How Do I Know? – An Update on the VA Mandatory Mask Policies and VA Leadership Failures

Question24 May 2021 – 1200-1500 I visited the Las Cruces Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  Upon entry, I was asked to wear a mask.  I described I could not wear a mask, and the employee said I might be required to wear one but left the decision to those working more closely with me.  I waited in line and was called to the Team 2 window, where a gentleman was more than happy to assist me in getting the paperwork started to change VA hospitals after relocating.  About 45-minutes into my time in this CBOC, the gentleman asked me to wear a mask.  I told him I could not and had brought my VA Doctor’s note as proof.  The gentleman read the letter, confirmed I was good to receive care without the mask, and provided exceptional customer support.

After the past year at the Phoenix VAMC, where my every movement on the property was shadowed by VA Police officers looking for a reason to injure, arrest, cite, and force me from the property, the employees here in Las Cruces was a breath of fresh air.  However, the experiences in Las Cruces provide further evidence of the following facts:

      1. The Hospital Director has statutory authority for adapting and creating policies and procedures that benefit the safety of the employees and the patients. A point I stressed to the leaders of VISN 22 and the Phoenix VAMC to no avail.
      2. The Federal Mask Mandates can be situationally applied for the circumstances of the individual. Yet, another point I have repeatedly stressed since July 2020, and the first time I was injured, arrested, cited, and forced from Federal Property. At the same time, I was being denied emergency care under EMTALA and having my HIPAA information repeatedly violated by the VA Police Officers.
      3. The bombastic and unprofessional behavior of the Federal Police employed at the Carl T. Hayden VAMC is a problem of the leadership, and the failures of leadership to instill professionalism, proper attitudes and behaviors, training, and tactics in approaching and handling situations in the Phoenix VAHCS. At the behavior of the Federal Police Officers in the Phoenix VAHCS, Che Guevara, Mao, Stalin, and Fidel Castro would be proud!VA 3

How can a person be sure the problems caused are a direct result of leadership failures?

ApathyBy tracing behaviors, attitudes, and influence to their source, the police chief acts as he considers appropriate, but the underofficers generationally multiply and mirror his behaviors.  The same is true for the chief who takes his example from the assistant director, director, and hospital leadership.  Chains of command always have this consequence; the example of those above are mirrored, replicated, and multiplied to impress the higher officers to gain attention and promotion opportunities.  Want to take a measure of a leader; look to the most junior person in the chain of command and watch them for behaviors, attitudes, and actions that originate in the leadership.

GavelCase in point, long have I detailed and described the failures of leadership at the VA.  The latest is a wire fraud scheme in Jackson, Mississippi.  From the Department of Veterans Affairs – Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG), we find the following:

Anthony Kelley, the owner of Trendsetters Barber College in Jackson, Mississippi, pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud in a scheme to steal federal funds. From October 2016 through March 2019, the college offered a master barber course that was not accredited by the state’s board of barber examiners. Kelley fraudulently represented that this course was approved and, as a result, was allowed to collect GI Bill money from veterans enrolled in the program.”VA 3

As the lowest person in the chain of command, Mr. Kelly was allowed to attempt to commit fraud by the VA.  Never in these reports is the VA employee, their supervisor, and their manager, who were complicit in allowing fraud to occur, mentioned and held accountable.  Somehow, we, the taxpayer, must presume that those committing frauds could hoodwink the Department of Veterans Affairs without any inside help.  Help coming directly or indirectly from government employees charged with investigating, ensuring, and following proper protocols and procedures to protect against theft and fraud.

Angry Grizzly BearLet the US Attorney and VA-OIG special investigators crow about catching the person perpetrating fraud.  Before they break open the champagne, they need to be looking into the leadership that either overtly or covertly allowed this fraud to occur.  The elected officials need to be demanding why fraud opportunities are so rampant at the Department of Veterans Affairs that criminal proceedings are being reported almost every week and asking about the culture of corruption and leadership failures allowing these behaviors to thrive.

Is it a “Culture of Corruption?”

Absolutely; the VA is sick with a culture of corruption!  It is my sad duty to report on another employee who was able to steal from the VA, stealing hydrocodone and oxycodone prescriptions from the VAMC mailroom and mailboxes at some 40 locations in Kerrville, Ingram, and Center Point.

Scott M. Brown, a pharmacy technician at the Kerrville VA Medical Center in Texas, was charged with one count of theft of US mail for stealing hydrocodone and oxycodone prescriptions from the medical center’s mailroom as well as from residential mailboxes between March and April 2021.”VA 3

Currently, Mr. Brown is being held in custody and remains innocent until proven guilty in a court of law by a jury of his peers.  However, the fact that Mr. Brown has been charged and is in custody speaks volumes to the lax leadership that allowed these prescription thefts to occur.  Where is the VA-OIG in asking how the robbery was possible?  Where are the special investigators demanding answers from the leadership on policies and procedures that an employee could easily violate to obtain these drugs?  Who else was involved, or had to know, what was happening and said nothing?Plato 3

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been overtaken by those without skill, knowledge, and ability to understand cause and effect and properly interrupt the cycles of corruption.  Worse, these same people will bleat about how they need more money for technology solutions when their personal example, leadership failures, and human-to-human relationships are the actual problems.  The leaders will bleat like sheep in a corral about engagement, customer service, and industry buzzwords because they have no substance and even less desire to see things change.Plato 2

Recently I detailed the failures at the Department of Veterans Affairs on information technology.  The fallout from the deplorable designed incompetence in the IT/IS infrastructure at the VHA continues to represent just how incompetent the current leaders genuinely are.

To promote compatibility with the Department of Defense’s electronic health record system, VA is replacing its aging record system. This requires VA medical facilities to upgrade their physical infrastructure, including electrical and cabling. The OIG determined from its audit that the Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA) cost estimates for these upgrades were not reliable. VHA’s estimates did not fully meet VA standards for being comprehensive, well-documented, accurate, and credible. The audit team projected that VHA’s June and November 2019 cost estimates were potentially underestimated by as much as $1 billion and $2.6 billion, respectively. This was due in part to facility needs not being well-defined early on. The estimates also omitted escalation and cabling upgrade costs and were based on low estimates at the initial operating sites. Because cost estimates support funding requests, there is a risk that funds intended for other medical facility improvements would need to be diverted to cover program shortfalls. The Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization (OEHRM) also did not meet its obligation to report all program costs to Congress in accordance with statutory requirements. Specifically, OEHRM did not include cost estimates for upgrading physical infrastructure in the program’s life cycle cost estimates in congressionally mandated reports. Although VHA provided OEHRM with an approximately $2.7 billion estimate for physical infrastructure upgrade costs in June 2019, OEHRM did not, in turn, include them in life cycle cost estimate reports to Congress as of January 2021. OEHRM stated it did not disclose these estimates because the upgrades were outside OEHRM’s funding responsibility and that they represented costs assumed by VHA facilities for maintenance—including long-standing needs” [emphasis mine].VA 3

Angry Wet Chicken 2Did you catch that; the office specifically tasked with handling estimates intentionally low-balled estimates, did not include all necessary contractual requirements, and then lied to Congress to cover their hides, and fell back upon designed incompetence to skirt blame, responsibility, and accountability when the VA-OIG came investigating.  Lying to Congress is a CRIME!  Yet, these federal employees can break the law with impunity, and all the VA-OIG can do is make recommendations for improvement!  If you want to read the full report of shame, you can find it here.

Leadership is change; management is stagnation and corruption.  When will the VA start hiring leaders to enforce, demand, and execute change to benefit the taxpayer and the veteran community?  Where are the elected officials willing to work with newly hired VA leadership in establishing legal frameworks for evicting employees who refuse to change from the federal workforce?  When can the veteran community and the taxpayer expect to see real and tangible change at the VA?

Knowledge Check!I am not asking these questions and not expecting an answer!  I am asking these questions looking for and expecting real results to begin immediately, if not sooner!  This is a national embarrassment with a global impact, and it is time for the United States to lead in correcting their detestable government workforce!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

The Vital Job of an Elected Official – Knowing is Half the Battle

The election of 2020 has shown the importance of transparency and neutrality in the election process, as in no other election throughout American History. The 2020 election has also supplied the perfect backdrop to understanding the roles of elected officials in elections. The current holder of an elected office oversees and is responsible for ensuring that their last official act is the election that will replace them in office.

PatriotismPresident Trump has done an admiral job as an elected official in avoiding identity politics, attempting to improve the election process, and honoring the “Rule of Law” in America. Yet, despite all the President’s efforts, the 2020 Election to either rehire him, or replace him, has been fraught with fraud, technological cheating, and deception. All because each level of elected officials, Federal, State, County, City, failed in their most important duty, protecting election integrity.

Most American Citizens would agree that integrity is all about being honest and having strong moral principles. Yet, some American Citizens might have difficulty with the other implications’ integrity brings to the issue of elections. Namely, “integrity declaring, a state of being whole and undivided; internal consistency; lacking corruption in electronic data; the condition of being unified, unimpaired, or sound in construction” (Websters Dictionary, 2020).

The Duty of AmericansUnfortunately, or fortunately, even those committing the fraud and deception are failing the integrity test; because integrity requires at its most fundamental base, trust and truth between parties. The elected officials do not trust the people and do not want to give up power ill-gottenly gained to America’s citizens. Those paying for the fraud and deception all have different personal agendas and only came together on one item, theft of the election process for personal gain.  Thus, the entire force is built on possible common interest sand, instead of building upon the bedrock of truth and trust.

The elected officials are derelict in their most important duty, and this dereliction was intentional. How does a citizen know the elected officials’ actions were deliberate; none of the voting irregularities discovered in the primaries was investigated and corrected. By carefully reviewing the primaries’ data, the same patterns are found during the November election are revealed. The media called the irregularities in the primaries mistakes. They scoffed, but the same behavior found in the primaries of the 2020 Elections is glaringly apparent in the November 2020 elections, and every candidate and issue is tainted by the fraud found and substantiated. Even a single dead person voting is fraud and requires investigation before the results are certified.

GI JoeConsider for a moment your job, your profession; if you failed in your most critical role, would you expect to have a job for very long? Consider a car mechanic who fails to repair a car; that mechanic will not be a mechanic for long. A nurse who routinely gives out incorrect medication dosages or gives medication to the wrong patients will not be a nurse for long. What about a contractor who builds buildings without proper foundations or the police officer who bullies and betrays their badge. Yet, the elected officials who conducted the farce called the 2020 Elections are not being fired for dereliction of duty. The elected officials will not be held accountable for the taxpayer monies wasted, the candidate’s time and money wasted, nor will they be removed from office. Yet they deserve all these consequences and more.

One of President Trump’s first actions in office was to call for a cleaning of the voter rolls and cull the fraud found in the 2016 Elections. Yet, his call went unanswered by many counties, fighting broke out in other counties, and the media harassed and denigrated anyone hoping to contribute until nothing could be accomplished. Thus, the same problems from earlier elections were used and new and more insidious methods to steal the 2020 Elections.

The people responsible for the fraud in the elections in American History are your neighbors. The county governments across America are generally accountable for holding fair and transparent elections and sending the election results to the government to declare the winners and losers in elections. However, these same elected and unelected people overseeing elections at the county and city level have decided that they are the Praetorian Guard of America and deserve to choose who belongs in office and who does not, to the detriment of the citizens casting their votes.

moral-valuesHow have they usurped this power and keep this power; by refusing common-sense voter ID laws and flooding the ballots with mail-in ballots and technological solutions that cannot be traced to a single voter. Common sense voter ID laws include showing a government-issued picture ID before being handed a ballot to vote. Consider the following, to enter a government building; you need both a picture ID and a purpose for being there. To board an airplane, you need a government picture ID. To legally buy alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana, you need a government-issued picture ID. In fact, in many states, driving without a license on your person is a quick trip to jail and is a multiplier of charges when caught. Yet, showing an ID or printing the tracking number/serial number of the ID on a ballot is considered too demanding and has been fought viciously to perpetuate voting inconsistencies and allow fraud in elections.

In multiple countries worldwide, it is considered a regular election practice to tie a ballot to a person with a fingerprint, a signature, and a government-issued ID. Yet, in the United States of America, a free Republic (if we can keep it), showing ID continues to be claimed too difficult and denies the poor their ability to vote. Yet how many of those “poor people” can produce an ID for everything they want to buy or enter a government building or board a plane. The politicians of America are derelict in their duties where the most basic office roles are concerned, and guaranteeing integral and transparent elections, is the issue that politicians need to be held accountable to perform.

To the citizens of America, regardless of political stripe, seize the power of the elections by holding your neighbors paid by your taxes accountable for dereliction of duty. These neighbors are wasting your money for their benefit, and this practice must cease. Not with more government intrusion, but with citizens demanding, insisting, and declaring these practices must stop forthwith. Demand less technology in the voting process! Demand an end to mail-in balloting! Demand common-sense voter ID laws that protect the integrity of the electoral process!  Insist that the voter rolls be scoured annually, and a report provided by these county officials showing the voter roll integrity standard has been reached. Failure to provide the report, or to properly clean the voter rolls, should have sharp consequences. Error rates for an election should be exceptionally low when these actions are properly taken.

Image - Eagle & FlagAmerica will not long survive as the “Shining city upon a hill” if the problems with election laws, the lack of common-sense voter ID laws, and the dead continue to vote in America’s election processes! We, the citizens of America, must act! Not the Supreme Court Justices or any other judge, not legislators, and indeed not the winners of the 2020 Elections. “We The People” are responsible and need to step up to retrieve the power stolen by our neighbors.

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein. The pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.
All rights reserved. For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/

The Role of Police in Current American Society – Knowing IS Half the Battle!

Behavior-ChangeThe recent acts of domestic terror in America have caused the need to teach, instruct, and edify on the basic roles of law enforcement officers, e.g. peacekeepers, sheriffs, police officers, agents, etc. in society.  American Society has two different peacekeepers tasked with the job of keeping peace in America, the military, and the police.  In this first of two articles, the role of the police officer is discussed, with foundational logic provided.  Imperative to understanding the role of police, we must first consider the role of government in America, as the police officer is but a tool of government policy.

Charles Reich (1964) wrote an article about “New Property,” where he discussed how that from WWII the government has been considering their citizens as property, how the bureaucrat picks winners and losers based upon a personal and often hidden agenda, and how this process has affected the law in America.  The premise that the government owns you, is here to protect you, and coddle you from the cradle to the grave, is the onerous millstone about America’s neck currently.  The size of government after WWII exploded and has done nothing but grow ever since; all because the bigger the government, the more the bureaucrat claims disproportionate power to inflict harm and enact a reign of terror, in the government’s name.

PolicyVisit a Department of Motor Vehicles and ask questions, ask “why” questions, and politely insist upon answers.  Visit a local zoning office, and refuse to accept their petty mandates regarding your personal property, try, and “fight city hall;” and you will face a bureaucrat. A bureaucrat on their own turf, who will make up rules to inconvenience you, simply because they can.  Everything that irritates a person about dealing with the government stems from the petty authoritarian actions of a bureaucrat, acting precisely as described by Charles Reich (1964).  Why has President Trump had so many problems with leading the Federal Government; the bureaucrats will not relinquish power “ill-gottenly gained,” and unconstitutionally acquired.  Why was President Obama able to lead the government so smoothly, the bureaucrats recognized in him the ability to seize power and took full advantage.  Resulting in the IRS being weaponized and illegally used against those deemed inferior to, or unworthy of, government largesse by a bureaucrat.  Why did President Reagan have so many problems with the Federal Government in his first term, and President Clinton not have any problems with the entrenched Federal Government; again the bureaucrats.  Those people that work in government, using government to get ahead, and have always privately dreamed of being Lord Tyrannus executing their will on others; in short, bureaucrats.

Michael Howlett, Chapter Two, from the book “Designing Government: From Instruments to Governance” (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2005), stated the following, “Policy instruments are techniques of governance that, one way or another, involve the utilization of state authority or its conscious limitation[s]. …[S]ince they often affect the behavior of individuals in society… possess economic costs paid by the governed… are controlled by policymakers… and are designed to implement governance strategies.”  The police are but one such tool or policy instrument to affect the behavior of a society.  Each criminal class in the criminal justice system has a society with specific rules, obligations, and controllers of policy.  For example, the common thief looks down upon a child molester but is in turn looked down upon by a murderer.  As one of the most visible tools of government policy, the police officer as a law enforcement agent (including FBI Agent, Sheriff, etc.) remains a target of opportunity by those resisting police enforcement, as well as the political masters who make a mistake and blame the police officers for failing to grasp what is desired by the political master.  Please note, the law enforcement officer has one role, to serve and protect society.  Under that role, there are millions of ideas about how to “serve” and what “to protect,” how “to protect,” and where “to protect.”  Each politician as the creator of policy and user of government tools, dictates to the police their job, how they perform their job, what merits proper performance of their job, and much more.  Hence, the need to understand the lines of congruity between proper policing and government policies.

Government Largess 2Consider the hammer, in the hands of a master craftsman art, is created by using the hammer.  In the hands of a child, generally, destruction occurs by using the hammer.  The hammer is not to blame for the destruction, nor praised for the beauty of the art, it is simply a tool to be wielded.  From this analogy, we find the reason, and often the start of, violent protestors, riots, lootings, etc. when the politician does not appropriately use the tool law enforcement official e.g. the police.

ProblemsLet us review the Eric Garner incident in New York City.  The police officer performed his duty, using the allowed tools provided by the politicians in making an arrest, which included a neck hold that was deemed safe.  Unfortunately, Eric Garner’s health problems, environmental concerns (weather, physical exertion, etc.), and other factors played a role, and Eric Garner died at the hands of a police officer.  A highly regrettable incident.  But, did the politicians pay a price for their decisions to allow the neck hold; no!  How many politicians lost their elected positions over the poor decisions of their tool, to make this arrest; none!  But, the police officer involved became a household name, the media went crazy, and cities across America burned because of how the tool of governance (Law Enforcement Officials), effected their job (use of an allowed neck hold), in correcting the behavior of society (making an arrest).

The crime Eric Garner was accused of was selling unlicensed cigarettes; essentially, the government was complaining they were not receiving sufficient taxes for the sales of the cigarettes.  This is behavior the city, county, state, or federal, collectively called “the state” has deemed unlawful.  The police, as tools of government policy, were called to correct the behavior and recoup the taxes through fines and imprisonment, after a trial by Eric Garner’s peers.  That through Eric Garner’s untimely death, the government was denied retribution is another discussion regarding the role of the criminal justice system.

ElectionAs tools of government policy, “use of force by law enforcement” remains a hotly contested topic, all because each politician will decide what is the “proper use of force by law enforcement officials,” to execute behavioral changes in the city/county/state/country.  The police officer, as a law enforcement official, is left in the middle between the cries of the governed, and the government using that official to enact policy.  Thus, the core and central issue in the lives of law enforcement officials everywhere, and why the treatment of criminals is always a political debate topic for those seeking election to offices of governance and judgeship.

Hollywood to the contrary, the police officer as a law enforcement official is not a military position.  The law enforcement official cannot go “rogue,” as this places their authority as a law enforcement official in jeopardy.  The law enforcement official can only apply that force allowed them by the politicians as tools of government policy.  Hence, when mass social unrest begins, it is not the police who need to be called, but the military.  However, the same politician controlling the proper use of law enforcement is also deciding what constitutes “civil unrest,” requiring military intervention; thus, opening the divide between law enforcement, “to serve and protect,” and the military which will insist upon the obedience of the governed, to the government.

The point remains, the law enforcement official, police officer, sheriff, etc. is a visible tool of the government to adjust the behavior of the governed, at the expense of the governed.  Hence, one cannot separate the responsibility of how the tool is used, from the tool holder.  Like the hammer in the hands of a child when destruction occurs, you do not punish the hammer, you swat the bottom of the child.  As adults in American society, we hold the ultimate responsibility for how your law enforcement officials act, through the ballot box electing those who create government policy.  If you do not like how the police are acting, it is your job to elect someone different.  Thus, it is your responsibility, and as an adult to choose how your law enforcement works.  You have no right to be looting, rioting, and causing acts of violence, especially when the police act in a manner that you do not prefer.

GI JoeAs G.I. Joe said when I was a kid, “Knowing IS half the battle” [emphasis mine].  The other half, never mentioned, was taking informed action.  If your elected officials are “too soft” or “too hard” on crime, the blame lies with the politician enacting the behavior-changing policy.  If the criminal justice system is not to your liking, you as a free individual have two choices, use the ballot box to change the elected leadership, or move to an area that possesses the same ideals you support.  Take informed action; leave the emotional tantrums to children!

Thin Blue Line

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.

All rights reserved.  For copies, reprints, or sharing, please contact through LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/davesalisbury/

Uncomfortable Truths – Where is the Accountability for Designed Incompetence?

I-CareThe Department of Veterans Affairs Office of the Inspector General (VA-OIG) conducted a review and sent the following report on their findings, “… the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) incorrectly processed more than half of the 62,500 claims decided in the first six months of 2018.”  A less than 50% accuracy rate is unacceptable in every business, organization, and school; yet, the VBA gets a pass on designed incompetence?  Why?  Already veterans must scrounge, dig, and provide endless reams of supporting proof, or new and material evidence, to obtain a “service-connected rating” for injuries and disabilities stemming from military service.  For the most part, the veteran accepts this as the cost of receiving treatment, and for the VBA to incorrectly process less than 50% of the claims, where spines are concerned, is deplorable performance.

In support of the claim that this is designed incompetence, the following is quoted from the VA-OIG report, “… incorrectly decided claims resulted from VBA’s inadequate process for ensuring accurate and complete evaluation. VBA’s primary means of evaluating disability contains minimal guidance, and a procedure manual is too subjective in key areas, which can lead to an inconsistent evaluation for related conditions stemming from the primary disability.”  The VA designed the processes for the VBA to follow.  Hence the incompetence is designed into the system to create additional problems, issues, and pain for the veteran.  Leading to a question for the elected officials in Federal Service, “Why are you allowing this nightmare to continue?”

Spine AnatomyAs a business consultant and industrial-organizational psychologist, I counsel those hiring me to never allow a process to reach a second birthday without a full and complete review.  When training deficiencies are found, immediate action is required, and that action must be documented.  Why is the VBA getting a pass on not training, not designing competent and reliable working processes, and not held accountable for performance that meets a passing score?  Not mentioned in this VA-OIG report, due to being outside the scope of the investigation, is the longevity of this single issue.  Why is a Congressional Blue-Ribbon panel not demanding historical information, and detailing for the American Taxpayer, especially the veterans involved, the significance of the rating problems and holding accountable those who designed the incompetence into the process?  By the time the VA-OIG reports are released for public distribution, there is supposed to be an alert to the Congressional Committees overseeing these government agencies.  The media is often alerted at the same time the Congressional Committees are informed; yet, a failing score in rating the “Spinal conditions [accounting] for two of VA’s top 10 service-connected disabilities, doesn’t even merit crickets.  Media why not stop reporting junk, and start reporting problems needing rectification?

If you want the full report, use the following link.  The full report is design incompetence of the greatest magnitude.  Elected officials, it is past time for action on the issue of design incompetence that allows substandard performance in government service!

Where designed incompetence continues to be the applicable excuse for poor performance, look no further than the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).  The VA-OIG report on Hospice and Palliative Care (HPC) is a full-on description of design incompetence to rival the VBA and maintain their lead on abusing veterans for personal power.  Consider the following, “… The OIG determined that 10.3 percent of the reviewed patients had a formal HPC consult or an HPC-related interaction/conversation without a designated HPC consult or stop code.”  Of those records, the 10.3% who were appropriately handled, and the 87.3% handled improperly, 100% of the patients reviewed experienced issues where “… administrative data did not reflect all HPC services provided by VHA. Inaccurate administrative data indicate that VHA has an incomplete understanding of how much HPC service it is providing or how much is needed, which could affect [the] allocation of resources and planning.”  Design incompetence allowed for every patient to have problems with information related, services the HPC provided, and the “VHA has opportunities to ensure that HPC consults are documented and coded accurately to account for HPC services.”  “Opportunities,” 100% of the records had administrative issues, 89.7% were improperly handled, “opportunities” might be a slight understatement.  Show me a successful business where 89% of the customers are mishandled, and 100% of the customers are provided inaccurate information when contacting the company for answers, and I will show you the floating mountains of Pandora in reality!

Secretary Wilkie has his hands full, and entirely tied, by the bureaucracy, employee inertia, and the uphill battle with intentional design incompetence that allows people who have been in their jobs since Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden, to still not know how to perform their job.  Federally elected officials, I must ask, “How can a VA employee qualify for retirement or continued employment, without knowing the job, or doing, the job they were hired or promoted for?”  Like fingers on a hand, the Federally Elected Officials have employees placed in leadership positions doing the business of the elected officials, if those employees cannot honorably do the jobs, they do not need to remain in your service, as you serve those who chose you on the ballot.  Is this pattern clear?  The voters hold you responsible for how well the government works, why are you not holding those in your service accountable and responsible for their inaction and their designed incompetence that promotes a ready-made excuse for dismal performance?

From personal experience, design incompetence is the only excuse many VA employees have, and the excuse is worthless.  There is a director of a major department of a statewide VA Health Care System, who refuses to write things down for fear of being held accountable.  Hence, every employee under this director’s leadership has adopted the same philosophy, no written guidance, written policy, no written procedures, and this situation is considered acceptable direction to this directors’ superiors.  Design incompetence is fought by holding individuals personally accountable, training, and using the performance management process to improve adherence and compliance.  For the VBA and the VHA to continue to allow design incompetence to excuse the inexcusable is a leadership issue which needs immediate Federal Elected Official intervention in support of Secretary Wilkie.  Please give him the tools needed to clean house, correct deficiencies, and establish sound policies to move the VA forward successfully!  The tools include a muzzle on the union, improved hiring, and support for eliminating thugs, criminals, and incompetence at every level of the VA hierarchy.

© 2019 M. Dave Salisbury

All Rights Reserved

The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

 

An Open Missive to our Federal Elected Officials: Who Polices the Federal Government in Following Hiring Practices?

As a dual-service, disabled veteran, possessing two master-level degrees from accredited colleges and engaged in the pursuit of a Ph.D., I am finding, from personal experience and in speaking to others pursuing employment with disabilities, discrimination is alive and well.  I can understand the discrimination in private sector hiring; I do not like it but understand it.  Risk, costs of health insurance, and costs of doing business increase when hiring those with disabilities.  I do not see government as a “jobs program” in any way; however, the government has taken it upon themselves to enact rules specifically to hire those with disabilities.  Thus, the government should be more open to hiring those of us with disabilities.

People ProcessesFederal Government hiring procedures provide two hiring paths, competitive and non-competitive.  Under competitive, there are several ways of being placed ahead of others and points are awarded for certain hiring preferences, of which being a veteran is but one.  In non-competitive hiring, Schedule A provides for disabled people to sidestep the traditional, or competitive, practices of hiring to have an opportunity of obtaining employment without having to compete with candidates not experiencing the special conditions caused by disability

Disabled people are supposed to be able to employ Schedule A hiring practices for Federal Hiring because disabled people know how difficult it is to be hired for the private sector, city, county, and state government hiring.  Here is where those in hiring positions for the Federal Government are able to bypass the system and not hire disabled people:  no one is policing hiring.  I was informed, very politely, by the Inspector General’s Office that they do not inquire or investigate compliance with regulations for hiring.  The question to you, elected Federal Officials: who polices and ensures compliance with written protocols established by OPM for hiring?

As a disabled veteran, hiring in the private sector has become more difficult as my injuries have become more noticeable, from fall 2010 to present.  Having a disability that is nerve based, causing tics/twitches/spasms, hiring officials acknowledge directly or indirectly that since my cost to employer-based health care will come with a pre-existing condition and higher overall costs in ADA compliance and loss of potential (blue) money, I become the “candidate to beat,” and finally will be told, “you are overqualified,” “you are over-educated,” or my personal favorite “you are not a good fit.”  Thus, after four consecutive years of seeing my ability to be hired in the private sector diminish, I began more heavily pursuing employment with the Federal Government.

In June 2016, I was, finally, awarded a Schedule A letter to add to my documents in Federal Hiring.  With the Schedule A letter, I was provided OPM training on how to be “Direct Hired” and walked through the OPM website governing the policies that govern Schedule A hiring and disability hiring for the Federal Government.  Since the award of the Schedule A letter, I have had a VA hiring official refuse to use the letter claiming VRA and VEOA are both more efficient, and then not hire me for being “overqualified.”  I have experienced hiring managers tell me that “Direct Hire” authority lies with managers, and you need to know those managers to employ Schedule A preference, but the hiring managers cannot tell you who else to speak with to receive Schedule A hiring.  The absolute best excuse has been a hiring manager’s claim that there is no such thing as non-competitive hiring, that all applicants must be hired under competitive hiring standards, and then proceeded to tell me I am not qualified for the position because my degrees were not specifically those desired in the advertisement, even though the advertisement did not specify a specific degree, other than master-level.  Most recently I have been offered positions so far below minimum pay levels only because the government knows that desperation often breeds compliance, even if compliance creates actual harm, all in the name of some future date of possibly being hired for the wages qualified for at the time of hire.

Hence, I emailed the Inspector General’s office regarding these circumstances and received the following reply, “The Inspector General’s Office does not monitor compliance with hiring in the Federal Government.”  Thus, Elected Officials, I ask you, “Who regulates and ensures compliance in hiring for Federal Government positions?”  “Who is accountable for OPM regulations being adhered to by local hiring decision-makers?”  “Where can those who are disabled and trying to work turn for a reconciliation of just grievances?”  You, the elected officials, created this hiring system with preferences for disabled people to find work with the Federal Government, so who is policing the hiring for you?

I have now contacted elected officials in four separate states while living and voting in those areas, Ohio, Arizona, Utah, and Michigan, asking the representatives of elected officials directly the same questions posed in this missive.  Senator McCain’s office was the most oblique and obtuse claiming that if hiring practices are not being followed it is due to a lack of training somewhere, but the issue is not important enough for the senator’s time.  Upon arrival in New Mexico, I asked about hiring at the VA Hospital in Albuquerque and was told by several officials at the VA Hospital that the HR Department was under extra scrutiny due to a significant lack of following the hiring guidelines for Federal Government hiring; but, none of those people could tell me who polices the hiring practices and ensures compliance.

Why is this important; because disabled people are not receiving the kind of hiring support they need.  With the current costs to business operation in the private sector, I can understand, I do not like it, but I can understand, that hiring those with disabilities is going to be a major cash outlay upfront with increased risk.  As a business professional, I understand the risk/cost structure, and I understand that the speed of business dictates finding the lowest cost/risk, candidate.  For the city, county, state, and Federal Government positions, I cannot fathom why disabled people are dragged through such egregious hiring practices.  I did an unofficial survey of 25 Federal Government, NM State, Bernalillo County, and City of Albuquerque employees asking them one simple question, how long did it take for you to be hired initially.  The answers ranged from multiple months to 5 years of constant applying.  If the employee had been promoted, I asked how long did the employee wait for the promotion, and the answers ranged from 3-months in the initial position to 15-years.  As a business professional, I can confidently say this is where enormous amounts of blue (potential) money are being wasted, and as the axiom goes, burn enough blue money and green money, in this case, taxpayer funds, evaporate!

Ways to fix the hiring issue:

  • USAJobs.govEach Federal Government office needs to have a single person solely responsible for Schedule A and all other direct hire authority programs that non-employees can communicate with to apply directly to that organization. All open positions would run through this office first providing the option to request Schedule A preference, and upon that selection, USAJobs.gov would automatically drive the applications to the single person responsible for direct hiring and provide this person’s name and contact information to the applicant.
  • Stop the redundant efforts. Once a background and reference check has completed for one office, make this information available to all offices for 365-days.  With applicants making multiple applications to several different offices, this alleviates contacting those references multiple times, duplicating work, and wasting resources.  The technology to share is already available, and this is a low-cost, high-return option to invoke.
  • Every worker in government expects everything to take an inordinate amount of time to complete work. The longer the waiting game takes, the more potential (Blue) money is wasted exponentially.  Start shaving unproductive hiring practices, processes, and procedures.  Streamlining the hiring process overall is needed!

Blue Money BurningConsider the following as a general guide.  For every five dollars of blue money wasted, fifteen to fifty green taxpayer dollars evaporate.  Thus, when a position is open, the lost potential is the annual salary of the new hire for every month the position remains open and unfilled, and the green money loss is the annual salary of the position open every two months.  Between others having to work harder to cover the open position (Blue), the added strain and stress of working shorthanded (Blue), and the lost productivity of the entire team including the costs of long-term planning (Blue), along with other factors, are “hidden costs” of conducting business.  In the blue money loss, the green money evaporation is found in less time for maintenance, tools, and people are used harder and longer, overtime for important deadlines, and commitments lost are all, but not a complete list, of green money evaporation pits.

  • While not directly a hiring practice, reducing employee churn, training, and promoting more quickly is a best business practice. The people in government make the government, and I am not the only customer service professional pointing to government offices as the epitome of incompetent people wasting resources and destroying morale and customer relationships.

Case in point, at the Regional VA Office in Phoenix, AZ, three people regularly man the front desk and are the face of this VA facility.  Of these three, one person is incompetent and intentionally mean, remarking in demeaning and insulting tones to questions and speaking ill of the veteran they just “helped.”  One is trying and means well.  The third could not be hired to clean road kill off streets and is completely and utterly a drone, for example saying they are working on a task but never accomplishing anything productive.  Several times while being harassed assisted by these individuals, I witnessed the third person asking for help from another employee to staple forms together, asking “where does the staple go in the form again?”  Hence, I was not surprised when Phoenix became the face of incompetent and heartless government workers literally killing veterans.  Clean house of the deadwood, replace with hard-working people and streamline the process of work to reduce the opportunity for drones and hacks to manipulate the system.  Of the 10-15 people that regularly float through the Phoenix VA Regional Office Front-Desk/Waiting Area, I think two might actually be working.  The rest seem to have an amorphous purpose doing ambiguous work in a cloud of confusion taking taxpayer wages for no productivity.

  • Customer service improvement begins internally, employee to employee. Want to slow churn, improve how employees serve each other.  Want to reduce churn significantly, get the supervisors, team leaders, and other organizational leaders out of the office, onto the production floor, and actively exemplifying customer service and professionalism.  Improve employee to employee customer service and departments like the VA and DMV will immediately begin to change their horrendous reputations.

I am not the only person in this country paying taxes and angry about the drones and dregs hired to conduct government business.  It is past time to demand accountability for the taxpayer money waste at all levels of government.  Decreasing waste begins with improved hiring, respect for the government they work for by being honest in their employment, and increased regard for the people they serve.

When an employee commits a crime, they should be able to be fired and never re-hired by the government, then held accountable in a court of law for their crimes.  When an employee does not pay their taxes while working for the government, they should be fired and never re-hired, then held accountable like every other citizen not paying their taxes.  To hear about government computers full of porn, child porn, and online gambling, tells me there are workers that are not being supervised properly, work is not being done, and the supervisor and the offending employee need to be fired and never re-hired, then held accountable in a court of law for their crimes.  Being paid to work and not working is theft!  Child porn is a crime!  Watching porn on a computer while being paid is both sexual harassment and theft, both of which are crimes!

The taxpayer receives a slap to the face when federal, state and county government employees are caught gaming the system for personal profit, are not required to remit the monies ill-gotten, and are not fired, or worse are fired and an obscure union regulation returns them to work at the same salary and position of authority, or worse are promoted after being returned to work.  These are failures in treating people properly, honoring the tax dollars invested, and reflecting a failure of elected officials to supervise government workers needed to run the government.  When will our elected officials become the leaders we are paying them to be, holding those malfeasant characters legally and morally accountable and removing them from employment in government?

Your'e HiredWe hired you, the elected officials, to run the government for us, not to enrich yourselves at our expense, and not to allow nefarious and untrustworthy people to lie, cheat, and steal our tax monies and keep being paid with our tax money!  More egregious still is allowing those who have abused the power of government to cause harm, then allow those abusers to quietly leave the government with their pensions, and no criminal charges are ever pursued, e.g., Lois Lerner among many others.  When you want to know why the approval rating for elected officials is so low, look no further than the issues raised in this missive.  Fix the problems!