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Commentary on the Iowa Veterans Home

June 23, 2013
Marvin Nelson, Marshalltown , Times-Republican

We have read and heard many stories regarding the IVH commandant and the conditions he's created in our home - stories of bullying, harassment, intimidation, retaliation, high stress, etc. All along, we thought if the governor only knew the truth of this guy's methods, he'd put a stop to it immediately. How wrong and nave we have been.

Some former employees and other friends stepped up as our advocates to try to get the truth to the governor. Now, it is clear, the governor already knew. He just didn't want other people to get at the truth of what's been going on. That's why he and his people stopped the bipartisan support for convening the Joint Government Oversight Committee. The commandant had been "wired up" by the governor's people to carry out the governor's wishes for the IVH. He didn't want it stopped.

The governor wanted to see some big changes and reductions. With brutal efficiency, the commandant has given it to him. He did it by pushing many veterans out of IVH while they still needed services; he pushed long-term, experienced staff out at all levels with complete disregard for them; he curtailed or completely eliminated traditional programs and services to veterans; and he restricted choices and opportunities for veterans under the guise of safety. In a dastardly plan for the future, he proposed legislation to restrict homeless or troubled veterans from even applying for IVH services, but local legislators caught it and stopped it. Using a completely non-compassionate and unfeeling "management style," the commandant and governor have changed our home from what made it great. They call it "hard decisions." I call it something else.

It's been a slick operation. The commandant "con"vinced the public that he cares deeply for the people he's supposed to serve. Then he chose Deputy Calloway and other "yes" people to form an "inner circle" to implement his true intent with callous disregard for the "human fallout." He couldn't have done it without them. High salaries bought the needed cooperation. For his part, the governor provided extraordinary cover for the commandant, killed investigations, politicized the discussion and used the Iowa Commission of Veterans Affairs to keep veterans' organizations off the trail. In his final show of contempt for the intelligence of Iowans, the governor continues to suggest there's no real problem for IVH residents in all this. Can you believe that? It's sad and outrageous!

 
 

 

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