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Board Members Present Peter Moran Marv Freedman Walter Stenavich Legislative & Program Review Members Present Marv Freedman Vera Roddy Lewis Harned Bill Hustad Steve Lawrence Jim Young Tim Thiers Long Term Care Committee Members Present Walter Stenavich Kevin Kavanaugh Jerry Rabetski Arnold Miller Ken Koon Jerry Polus Financial Committee Members Present Pete Moran Connie Allord Jim Gausmann Jim Endres Al Kochenderfer Joe Campbell John O’Brien CVSO Advisory Council Holly Hoppe, Oconto CVSO John Solis, Rock CVSO Don Lander, Clark CVSO Mark Grams, Dodge CVSO Ted Mynyk, Iowa CVSO Jim Young, Vernon CVSO Michael Jackson, Dane CVSO WDVA Staff Members Present John A. Scocos, Secretary Bill Kloster, Deputy Secretary Bill Crowley, Commandant, King Glen Brower, Commandant, Union Grove Colleen Holtan, Budget Office Ken Abrahamsen, Budget Director John Rosinski, Chief Legal Counsel Andrew Schuster, Communications Director Ken Black, Division of Veterans Benefits Julie Van Metre, Ex. Staff Assist Council on Veterans Programs Present Russ Alsteen, NCUSA Paul Bialk, MCL Cleon Brown, USSVWWII Rick Cherone, MOPH Paul Fine ANU Bill Hustad, WVV Jon LiDonne, CVSOA Jesse Haro, CWV John Margowski, VVA Jerry Rabetski, PLAV Vera Roddy, UWV Ron Rutkowski, VVAW Clif Sorenson, WACVO Jack Stone, PVA Tim Thiers, AMVETS Others Present Donna Chrzas, Columbia CVSO Ray Ebert, LaCrosse County Board of Supervisors Roger Fetterly Kathy Gausmann, Monroe CVSO Cletus Rataichek, AMVETS Commander Larry Smerling, Winnebago CVSO Jim Stahl, AMVETS Jim Tratz, AMVETS
The briefing session by WDVA staff for Board, Council and Committee members commenced at 1:30 pm. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited. 1. Certification of Notice of Meeting and Roll Call Roll call of Board members: 3 members present; 4 members excused. Quorum was not present therefore the Board did not take any formal action at the briefing. Roll call of CVSO Advisory Council members: 8 members present; 1 member excused. Quorum present. Roll call of Legislative and Program Review Committee members: 7 members present, 5 members excused. Quorum present. Roll call of Long-Term Care Committee members: 6 members present; 6 members excused. No quorum.
MINUTES CVSO ADVISORY COUNCIL October 19, 2006 La Crosse, Wisconsin
Members Present Holly Hoppe, Oconto Don Lander, Clark Mark Grams, Dodge Ted Mynyk, Iowa Jim Young, Vernon Michael Jackson, Dane John Solis, Rock Members Excused Nick Benzinger, Shawano Mike Haley, Chippewa WDVA Present John A. Scocos, Secretary Bill Kloster, Deputy Secretary Ken Black, Division of Veterans Benefits John Rosinski, Chief Legal Counsel Ken Abrahamsen, Budget Director Colleen Holtan, Financial Officer Bill Crowley, Commandant, King Home Glen Brower, Commandant, Union Grove Home Andy Schuster, Communications Julie Van Metre, Executive Staff Assistant Others Present Connie Allord Russ Alsteen, Navy Clubs Cleon Brown, Submarine Vets WWII Joe Campbell Rick Cherone, MOPH Donna Chrzas, Columbia CVSO Jim Endres, AMVETS Roger Fetterly Paul Fine, ANU Marvin Freedman, Board Member Jim Gausmann, La Crosse CVSO Kathy Gausmann, Monroe CVSO Lewis Harned Jesse Haro, CWV Bill Hustad, WVV Ken Koon Steve Lawrence, VFW Adjutant Jon LiDonne, Waupaca CVSO John Margowski, VVA Arnie Miller, AMVETS Pete Moran, Board Member Jerry Polus, Brown CVSO Jerry Rabetski, PLAV Cletus Rataichek, AMVETS Commander Vera Roddy, UWV Ron Rutkowski, VVAW Larry Smerling, Winnebago CVSO Clif Sorenson, Eau Claire CVSO Jim Stahl, AMVETS Jack Stone, PVA Walter Stenavich, Board Member Tim Thiers, Manitowoc CVSO Jim Tratz
1. Call to Order and Roll Call. The meeting of the CVSO Advisory Council was called to order at 1:30 p.m. to hear a WDVA briefing (see Exhibit 1). The Committee stood in recess after the WDVA briefing. A quorum was present at the WDVA briefing and upon reconvening at 3:10 p.m. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited. 2. Certification of Notice of Meeting. So noted. 3. Approval of Minutes of September 28, 2006 It was moved by Mr. Lander, seconded by Mr. Young and carried on a voice vote to approve the minutes of the September 28th CVSO Advisory Council meeting. 1
4. Announcements and Introductions None. 5. Secretary’s Matters The Secretary thanked the CVSO Association for the successful Fall conference. Secretary Scocos thanked Rick Gates for his years of service as Association President and welcomed Michael Jackson as President for 2006-07. The WDVA budget is Phase 2 of the solvency plan. It moves administrative costs to general purpose dollars. We think this is justifiable and ask for your support as we move forward. The Secretary is putting out a budget letter to send to the CVSO Association. A financial executive summary will be prepared to include signatures of support from all the veterans organizations and stakeholders who support the budget. • • • • • Other highlights: Mark Rutberg is doing well in his recovery process. There were interviews this week for positions in the Milwaukee Claims office. Veterans Day ceremonies are scheduled at the cemeteries in Union Grove, Spooner and King. A Women Veterans Conference will be held in Madison on December 13th. The Board will meet on December 7th at Union Grove. We will have a Pearl Harbor event and building dedication.
6. Public Input None. 7. Council Members’ Matters (Not Subject to Adoption) Mr. Mynyk said there has been an effort to make CVSOs aware of changes on forms. He wanted the changes to be highlighted or put in bold text. It was noted that all the forms have a publication date at the bottom of the form. Q: Are appeals being compromised because they are conducted by WDVA staff? Is there any chance that we could have a three-person panel or people outside WDVA make a judgment on appeals? A: Secretary Scocos said WDVA is the expert. It is a benefit that we provide and Mr. Rosinski and Mr. Stewart do a good job. Mr. Rosinski said the current rule provides for in-house review of the administrative process. Many state agencies have the in-house administrative review process and as long as the final decision maker has not been involved in the initial decision, it is entirely appropriate and it is a practice that is followed by many agencies. If we were to outsource this, first of all you would be going to someone with much less expertise in the area. Secondly, it would be an extremely costly endeavor. Ms. Hoppe said she received an e-mail regarding delays in the processing of the federal G.I. Bill. She was asked if the Council could send a notice of concern to the federal veterans committee and ask for the reallocation of funds.
Ms. Hoppe received an e-mail from Secretary Nichols’ office requesting all veterans to wear their medals on Veterans Day. This is something that has been lost over the years. 2
Q: Of the 291 VetEd applications that were denied because of failure to provide a preapplication, how many of those were appealed? And if there were any appealed, how many were granted? If those 291 that were denied were granted would that have put you in a bad budget position? These questions were asked to be addressed at the next meeting of the CVSO Advisory Council. Other future agenda items: There was a recommendation at the CVSO Association Executive Committee that the CVSO Resolutions from the Fall Conference be placed on the CVSO Advisory Council agenda. 8. Next Meeting Schedule December 7th at the Wisconsin Veterans Home in Union Grove. 9. Adjournment It was moved by Mr. Jackson, seconded by Mr. Young and carried on a voice vote to adjourn the CVSO Advisory Council meeting, the time was 3:35 p.m. Holly Hoppe Chairwoman
Roll call of Financial Committee members: 7 members present; 3 members excused. Quorum present. Roll call of Council on Veterans Programs members: 15 members present, 7 members excused, and 2 vacancies. Quorum present. 2. Legislative Report Secretary Scocos reported that Executive Assistant Anthony Hardie has been struggling for the past three months with health issues that occurred during the Gulf War. Mr. Hardie will be involved in a special study in Florida concerning Gulf War veterans’ ailments. The Legislature has been out of session. The Department developed its budget and set a goal to stay the course and do what’s right for veterans. We will continue to ensure full stakeholder involvement, encouraging strong legislative support and the shift to general purpose dollars. Other issues of importance are property tax credits for disabled veterans, the residency requirement, and age limit. Continuing solvency of our Veterans Homes is a key priority along with the build up of our mortgage loan repayment program. The Salute to the Legislature will be in February. Secretary Scocos was recently elected Vice President of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs. An issue of importance to the NASDVA is a burial plot allowance increase. 3. Programs Report—Ken Black Mr. Black provided the veterans benefits update. Eight bulletins were distributed and can be accessed on the WDVA web site. They are numbered 746, 748, 749, 750, 751, 752, 754, 755. The Cemetery report shows an average of 95 burials a month this year. Military Funeral Honors conducts about 455 per month. The Veterans Assistance Program was notified by DOA that the selection committee had completed its process. CVI was selected and WDVA is going through the process of negotiating with DOA and CVI on that contract. The Union Grove VAP has received written approval from the federal VA to move from Cottage 1 to Cottage 16. The VetEd Program continues to be challenging. We are adopting a proactive approach to making that program better. Since the inception of the program 2,754 veterans submitted VetEd applications. 291 of those applications were denied because of pre-application issues; 682 were denied for other reasons. That means that 2,463 or 89% of all the applicants understood and met the pre-application process. The Secretary emphasized that denials can be for any number of reasons and he will direct staff to delineate the different categories in subsequent briefings. Department staff will visit every University and Technical College in order to ensure that veterans officials and the veterans are getting our message about the Wisconsin G.I. Bill as well as the VetEd Program. Mr. Black said the PLP loan volume was $726,675 in August and $542,648 in September. Loan volume in the PML Program was $3,094,947 in August and $3,578,472 in September. Marketing has helped increase total loans over last year. About $51 million remains in the QVMB pot. The delinquency rate for the month of August and September respectfully is 2.21% and 2.15%.
The Women Veterans Conference will be held on December 13th at the WDVA headquarters in Madison. The intent of the conference is to bring the women veterans of the state together in order to identify and resolve those issues and concerns specifically associated with women veterans. Mr. Rosinski was asked to explain the distinction between the G.I. Bill and the VetEd Program. The G.I. Bill is the Program under which currently a veteran who entered service from Wisconsin gets a 50% reduction in tuition at the UW and Voc Tech Schools. Qualified dependents of a disabled veteran or deceased veteran get 100% write off. The legislation recently passed concerning the G.I. Bill is that we will go up to 100% starting with the Fall semester 2007. Independent of that the Department has the VetEd Program which is funded from the Trust Fund. It replaced the Part Time Study Grant and Full Time Study Grant Program. The VetEd Program pays for the balance of the 50% in the case where a veteran gets the G.I. Bill or the entire amount of UW tuition for a qualified veteran who when completing service requirements either entered service from Wisconsin or resided in Wisconsin for 12 months after service. That program was created in the last budget bill; the legislature imposed a pre-application requirement for the VetEd Program. Q: Does that pre-application require registration to take place within 30 days prior to when classes begin? A: The Statute and Rule that the Board authorized and that WDVA was mandated to promulgate requires that the pre-application be submitted within 30 days of the commencement of the semester. We initially required that it could be submitted 30 days before or 30 days after. We have subsequently, through the hearing process modified the interpretation to indicate that if a veteran submitted the pre-application 40 days before the commencement of the semester, we kept it on file and it would be a timely application. The UW and the Technical Colleges require that the application for the G.I. Bill tuition remission be submitted at the beginning of the semester. Under the G.I. Bill the Department of Veterans Affairs was mandated to certify the veteran status of the eligible veteran. As part of the G.I. Bill process the veteran has to submit documentation to WDVA that allows us to certify the veteran as having entered from the State of Wisconsin and has the required service and required level of disability. That is all WDVA does in that program. Then if the veteran or dependent wants to take advantage of the certification, he or she has to comply with the UW or Tech School requirements. Q: Will the WDVA Bulletin on this also include the University and Technical College requirements? A: No, but we will look at that as a follow up bulletin. At this point Tim Thiers presented a check from the DAV Manitowoc Chapter in the amount of $500 to the VAP at King to be used for a television set. AMVET Post 99 will also be sending a check for $250. 4. Veterans Homes Report Commandant Crowley said the King Home census is at 707. Of the 42 vacancies, 18 are in the cottages and 24 are in the skilled care buildings. There are 69 pending applications. The average time from receipt of application to entry is 24 days.
The Home Exchange reports operating at a net loss of $684 for the past 12 months. The fundraiser for transportation for the veterans at King and Union Grove had a goal of $370,000 and has now exceeded $455,000. It is much appreciated and a remarkable show of support for that fundraiser. Upcoming events: Veterans Day observance begins at 10:00 a.m. in the Marden Center. Chairman Hughes will be the featured speaker. The Pearl Harbor Day Program will be on December 7th. All the major King Days for the years have concluded. The Commanders and Presidents of the various organizations and auxiliaries have begun their formal visits. The construction project underway in Quadrangle Park is nearing the end. The pipeline will be done and cut over to the new steam line by the 2nd of November. Commandant Crowley said he continues to see successes in efforts to fill vacancies in all the nursing categories at King. Current staffing vacancies—19 CNAs, 9 LPNs and 6 RN/nurse clinicians. We are down to half of what the vacancies were four years ago and we continue to make progress. Secretary Scocos said scheduling and overtime are being looked at and will be reported at the next Board meeting. Q: How many members transferred from King to Union Grove? A: A total of eight. Q: The Board approved a process in September to create a pool that could be used for future vacancies. What is your sense of how that would impact on the current 19 vacant CNA positions? A: Mr. Crowley did not anticipate that it will take care of the vacancy rate. The way it will impact is that during the time that it takes to fill those vacancies we can go to that pool and put somebody in that position. The positive impact that the pool can have is to be able to immediately fill that hole so that someone else is not forced to work overtime. Coverage would be there, but there would still be a vacancy to fill. Q: Could you give the total number of authorized positions in each of the categories? A: For Nursing Assistants there are a total of 265 and out of that just 19 vacancies right now. For LPNs there are 64.5 positions and 9 vacancies and for Nurse Clinicians (the RNs), 44.5 positions and 6 vacancies. Q: Do you still have the Stipend Program in place and is it working? A: Mr. Crowley said there are two Stipend Programs in place, one for LPNs and one for RNs. The one for LPNs is open to current employees who are CNAs who are recommended by their supervisors for the LPN Stipend Program. That has been very effective. There are currently 6 students in that program and 6 more will start in January. The RN Stipend Program is newer and is available to anyone in the final two years of their educational program to become a registered nurse. That too has been successful.
Commandant Brower said the Union Grove Assisted Living Facility has 102 members. Boland Hall, the skilled nursing facility has 24 members. The financial health of the Union Grove Home is predicated on developing a certain census timeline. That timeline is to achieve 40 members by the end of December 2006; 80 members by the end of June 2007; and 114 members or 95% capacity by December 2007. Employee status: 141 members on the payroll; 87 are full time, 47 part time and 7 are limited term employees. Projecting to add 117 more employees in stages up to an employment roll of 258. The Skilled Nursing Facility has passed all of the VA and BQA inspections. The license to operate the facility has been issued by the state. The first member was admitted on September 6th. Construction of the SNF is completed, maintenance contracts are in place, furniture for the SNF is 98% complete, appropriate contracts are in place for our physician services, pharmacy, and therapy as well as all policy and procedures. VA per diem authorization was effective October 3rd. The cost of the SNF was about $20 million and to date we have billed the federal VA for approximately $12.5 million. The activity center is a building housing the administrative offices, the food service operation and then the activity center itself. The facility is nearing completion and administrative offices should be occupied by November 15th. Transportation of our food from King will happen in mid to late November when we will have approximately 35-40 members. The total project cost was about $2.5 million and we have received about $1.5 million from the federal VA. A conversion of some of the double rooms in Fairchild and Shemanske to single rooms is being re-evaluated. The Deputy Commandant, Pat Shaughnessy, will be presented with a $35,000 check from the UAW for the construction of a gazebo. On October 27th there will be a luncheon sponsored by the United Women Veterans for the women veterans at the Home. December 7-8 the Home will host the Pearl Harbor ceremony, the Activity Center (Cottage 17) dedication, and the Board meeting. The Home received authorization for daily VA per diem. It is $30 per day, per veteran for the domiciliary and $60 per day, per veteran for the skilled nursing facility. 5. Financial Report—Colleen Holtan Ms. Holtan presented month end September 30, 2006 financials. King reported an operating loss of $2,285,873, which is a 12% decrease in the net operating loss for the same time period in FY 06. The fund equity balance was $41,188,931 which is approximately $2 million less than the June 30th balance, but $19,584,847 greater than the balance as of September 30, 2005. The cash balance has increased $5,214,840 since June 30th to $20,505,233 due to the receipt of the final retrospective medical assistance payment of $8,766,363. The Wisconsin Veterans Home at Union Grove has a fiscal year-to-date operating loss of $1,353,710. Fund equity as of September 30th was $14,364,787, a decrease of $1,343,010 since June 30th, but $6.3 million greater than the balance as of
September 30, 2005. The increase is due to an increase in net capital assets resulting from the construction of the skilled nursing facility. Cash uses have exceeded receipts by $1,177,664 for the fiscal year, resulting in an ending cash balance of negative $810,816. The balance is $1,034,586 greater than the September 30, 2005 balance. The Veterans Trust Fund had a net loss of $1.3 million at September 30th, which is $1.4 million less than the fiscal year 2006 loss of $2.6 million for the same time period. The ending fund equity in the Veterans Trust Fund was $75 million which is a decrease of $1.4 million since the beginning of the fiscal year. The cash decreased year to date by $1,118,939 fiscal year to date. The September 30th cash balance was $28,115,426. The Mortgage Loan Repayment Fund reported liabilities of $384 million, which is about $39 million greater than at the same date in FY 06 due to the net effect of bond issuances and retirements. The MLRF had a net income of $2,145,535 through September 30th. Increases in earnings on investments more than offset decreases in operating income. The cash balance in the MLRF was $115,395,777 at September 30th due to loan repayments exceeding new loan disbursements. In addition, cash is building as we approach November 1st, one of two semi-annual dates for debt service payments. The September 2006 reported delinquency rate for PLP loans was 2.12% and for VTF loans it was 2.15%. The PMLP delinquency rate was 0.58% in August. There were 26 mortgage loan applications received in September. 6. Overview on the Mission Welcome Home Program. Secretary Scocos provided material prepared by Jeff Johnson who is the lone staff person with responsibility to the Mission Welcome Home Program. He has over 1,000 contacts and has been reaching out into communities throughout Wisconsin. The Vietnam Veterans of America are strong allies as well as the VFW, American Legion, AMVETS, DAV. Some of the successes are achieved by reaching out to the Brewers, Rotaries and Kiwanis Clubs who have donated money. Jeff Johnson is the link with Judith Singer of Reaching Out; Being There and the Family Support Groups. Mr. Jackson delivered kudos to Jeff Johnson from the CVSOs. Mr. Sorenson thought the Mission Welcome Program has been carried out to its utmost and the families of deployed service members in Eau Claire County have benefited by Jeff Johnson and what he has done. Arnie Miller said that AMVETS is in the process of organizing an AMVETS Post in La Crosse. He introduced AMVET State Commander Cletus Rataichek; past State Commander Jim Stahl; Jim Tratz, First Vice Commander; Jim Endres, AMVETS Post 37, and Tim Thiers of AMVETS Post 99 in Manitowoc. 7. Recess/Adjournment It was moved by Mr. Harned, seconded and carried on a voice vote that the Legislative and Program Review Committee stand in recess until after the CVSO Advisory Council meeting. The Long Term Care Committee stood in recess until the adjournment of the Legislative and Program Review Committee.
It was moved by Mr. Endres, seconded and carried on a voice vote that the Financial Committee stand in recess until the adjournment of the Long Term Care Committee. It was moved by Mr. Rabetski, seconded by Mr. Sorenson and carried on a voice vote that the Council on Veterans Programs adjourn. It was moved by Mr. Lander, seconded by Mr. Young and carried on a voice vote that the CVSO Advisory Council recess until 3:10 p.m. The Board adjourned at 3:00 p.m.
MINUTES LEGISLATIVE AND PROGRAM REVIEW COMMITTEE WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS Meeting of October 19, 2006
Committee Present Marvin Freedman Lewis Harned Bill Hustad Vera Roddy Jim Young Steve Lawrence Tim Thiers Committee Excused Kathy Marschman Josh Sniegowski Duane Miskulin Bud Mautz Paul Weprinsky WDVA Present John A. Scocos, Secretary William Kloster, Deputy Secretary Bill Crowley, Commandant, King Glen Brower, Commandant, Union Grove Ken Abrahamsen, Budget Director Colleen Holtan, Financial Officer John Rosinski, Chief Legal Counsel Andy Schuster, Public Affairs Director Ken Black, Division of Veterans Benefits Julie Van Metre, Executive Staff Assistant Others Present Connie Allord Russ Alsteen, Navy Clubs Cleon Brown, Sub-Vets WWII Joe Campbell Rick Cherone, MOPH Donna Chrzas, Columbia CVSO Jim Endres, AMVETS Roger Fetterly Paul Fine, ANU Jim Gausmann, LaCrosse CVSO Kathy Gausmann, Monroe CVSO Mark Grams, Dodge CVSO Jesse Haro, CWV Holly Hoppe, Oconto CVSO Michael Jackson, Dane CVSO Kevin Kavanaugh Al Kochenderfer Ken Koon John Margowski, VVA and Waukesha CVSO Arnold Miller Pete Moran, Board Member Ted Mynyk, Iowa CVSO John O’Brien Jerry Polus, Brown CVSO Jerome Rabetski, PLAV Cletus Rataichek, AMVETS Commander Ron Rutkowski, VVAW Larry Smerling, Winnebago CVSO John Solis, Rock CVSO Clif Sorenson, Eau Claire CVSO Jim Stahl Walter Stenavich, Board Member Jack Stone, PVA Jim Tratz
1. Call to Order and Roll Call. The meeting of the Legislative and Program Review Committee was called to order at 1:30 p.m. to hear a WDVA briefing (see Exhibit 1). The Committee stood in recess after the WDVA briefing. A quorum was present at the WDVA briefing and upon reconvening at 3:40 p.m. 2. Certification of Notice of Meeting. It was certified that proper notice of the meeting occurred.
3. Approval of Minutes. Mr. Freedman stated a correction to the minutes: On page 2, third paragraph. There was never any reference to the word rejected in conjunction with AMVETS Resolution #1 and the words rejected by the committee should be deleted and it should read: The AMVET Resolution as presented was modified and the Resolution carried on a voice vote. It was moved by Mr. Hustad, seconded by Mr. Thiers and carried on a voice vote to approve the minutes of the August 17, 2006 meetings as amended. 4. CVSO Resolution 4; AMVETS Resolution 4; DAV Resolution 3, 7, 10; and American Legion Resolution 6. Mr. Freedman made comments to clarify confusion after the last meeting of the Committee. The Board and its Committees highly value the input from all the veteran service organizations, the CVSO Association and other third party groups. When the Committee took actions with respect to the resolutions where wording was utilized that modified submitted language, the language that went forward was no longer to be the VSO language any longer, it was then the Committee’s position. What moved forward that modified any language that was contained in a VSO resolution was viewed as Committee language. Mr. Endres said that on September 18th Commander Cletus Rataichek sent a letter to Board
Chairman Mack Hughes. AMVETS stated that they did not pass resolutions and forward them to the Board for any type of approval or editing but to keep the lines of communication open in order to speak with one voice.
AMVET Resolution 4 supports legislation in the upcoming session to address the inconsistency of residency requirements to receive benefits and DAV Resolution 3 calls for the State Legislature to approve Senate Bill 427 or Assembly Bill 916 which would establish a tenyear residency for veterans who enter service from outside the state. It was moved by Mr. Hustad, seconded by Mr. Young and carried on a voice vote to receive and file AMVET Resolution 4. It was moved by Mr. Lawrence, seconded by Mr. Young and carried on a voice vote to receive and file DAV Resolution #3. The Department and the Board have already moved on this resolution and have incorporated it in its formal budget request to the Department of Administration. DAV Resolutions 7 and 10 were held over because it was unclear to the Committee what the position was. Resolution 7, Disabled Veteran Reduced Fees refers to some type of coding on drivers licenses and state identification cards that would indicate which programs have either partial or complete fee waivers. It was moved by Mr. Lawrence, seconded by Mr. Thiers and carried on a voice vote to receive and file DAV Resolution 7. DAV Resolution 10 was clarified to the Committee as being one year’s license plate fee on a license good for five years. It was moved by Mr. Young, seconded by Mr. Hustad and carried on a voice vote to receive and file DAV Resolution #10. CVSO Association Resolution 4 concerning the VetEd pre-application requirement dated April 14th. Mr. Jackson said one of the four resolutions from the recent Fall Conference addresses the pre-application requirement. The Secretary said those four resolutions will be on the Committee’s agenda for the December meeting.
American Legion Resolution 6—Commercial Development of the VA Grounds in Milwaukee. It was moved by Mr. Young, seconded by Mr. Lawrence and carried on a voice vote to receive and file the resolution. 5. Information on WDVA’s Women Veterans Forum Mr. Black said the Forum is designed to exchange ideas and information and help establish a network of communication for federal, state and local agencies that provide services to women veterans. It will take place on December 13th at WDVA building headquarters in Madison. Invitees include: affiliate agencies, women veterans agencies, federal and state agencies as well as legislators. The organizer for the Forum is Gundel Metz, 608-266-1312. There are no registration fees. The guest speaker is Ms. Betty Mosley Brown, the Associate Director of the Center for Women Veterans, Federal Department of Veterans Affairs. 6. Secretary’s Matters. Secretary Scocos said that the Board passed the WDVA budget. This is phase two of our Trust Fund solvency plan that will transfer administrative costs and additional operating costs to general purpose revenue. Passage of the bill includes two important components: the strategic vision for where we see our nursing facilities going and the solvency of both Veterans Homes and a new Home in Chippewa Falls projected for the future; and rebuilding the Mortgage Loan Repayment Fund. We need everyone’s support as we go forward in the budget process. The Secretary gave a briefing for the Commanders on the importance of general purpose dollars in the WDVA budget. He wants to work with all the different veterans organizations and our union to produce a letter of support from all our veterans groups as we move forward in the budget process. 7. Public Input. None. 8. Committee Members’ Matters (Not Subject to Adoption). Q: What would the impact be on the Trust Fund if we would open up the home loans and the PLPs to our guardsmen and reservists? A: If a guardsman or reservist has federal active duty they are eligible for the program. Those activated and sent to Iraq are considered eligible. The Home Loan Program itself, a sixyear guard member, without any Fed Title 10 service is eligible for the home loan as long as they don’t use tax exempt bond proceeds. We have in place what you are requesting. It has no effect on the Trust Fund since we do not use Trust Fund monies to fund those loans. The PLP is not available to veterans who do not have federal active duty service. Q: Although there is $61 million available for the Home Loan, those six-year guard and reservists, albeit eligible for the program, cannot get the money, is that correct? A: We were very successful in the last budget bill of getting some additional provisions dealing with the Home Loan Program. However, we cannot use tax exempt proceeds. As long as we have any non tax exempt proceeds we can fund the guard members in the expanded refinancing and the second residences. We are attempting every day to get other funding that will enable us to broaden the program and take advantage of what we got in the budget bill.
9. Next Meeting Date. The next meeting will be December 7th at the Veterans Home in Union Grove. 10. Adjournment. It was moved by Mr. Lawrence, seconded by Mr. Harned and carried on a voice vote to adjourn the meeting, the time was 4:20 p.m. Marvin Freedman Chairman
MINUTES LONG TERM CARE COMMITTEE WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS Meeting of October 19, 2006 Committee Present Walter Stenavich Jerry Rabetski Ken Koon Jerry Polus Kevin Kavanaugh Arnold Miller Mary Meyer (via teleconference) Committee Excused Ken Wendt Chris Kornkven Dave Gough Robert Morzenti Alan Walker WDVA Present John A. Scocos, Secretary William Kloster, Deputy Secretary Bill Crowley, Commandant, WVH-King Glen Brower, Commandant, WVH-Union Grove Ken Abrahamsen, Budget Director Colleen Holtan, Financial Officer John Rosinski, Chief Legal Counsel Ken Black, Division of Veterans Benefits Andy Schuster, Public Relations Director Julie Van Metre, Executive Staff Assistant Others Present Connie Allord Russ Alsteen, Navy Clubs Cleon Brown, US Sub Vets WWII Joe Campbell Rick Cherone, MOPH Donna Chrzas, Columbia CVSO Jim Endres, AMVETS Roger Fetterly Marvin Freedman, Board Member Jim Gausmann, LaCrosse CVSO Kathy Gausmann, Monroe CVSO Mark Grams, Dodge CVSO Jesse Haro, CWV Holly Hoppe, Oconto CVSO Bill Hustad, WVV Michael Jackson, CVSOA President Al Kochenderfer Steve Lawrence, VFW Adjutant John Margowski, Waukesha CVSO Pete Moran, Board Member Ted Mynyk, Iowa CVSO John O’Brien Cletus Rataichek, AMVETS Commander Vera Roddy, UWV Ron Rutkowski, VVAW Larry Smerling, Winnebago CVSO John Solis, Rock CVSO Clif Sorenson, Eau Claire CVSO Jim Stahl Jack Stone, PVA Tim Thiers, Manitowoc CVSO Jim Tratz Jim Young, Vernon CVSO
1. Call to Order and Roll Call. The meeting of the Long Term Care Committee was called to order at 1:30 p.m. to hear a WDVA briefing (see Exhibit 1). The Committee stood in recess after the briefing. A quorum was not present at the Briefing but there was a quorum upon reconvening at 4:25 p.m. 2. Certification of Notice of Meeting. It was certified that proper notice of the meeting occurred.
3. Approval of Minutes. It was moved by Mr. Polus, seconded by Mr. Kavanaugh and carried unanimously on a voice vote to approve the minutes of the August 17th Committee meetings. It was moved by Mr. Koon, seconded by Mr. Kavanaugh and carried unanimously on a voice vote to approve the minutes of the June 15th Committee meetings. 4. Secretary’s Matters. Commandant Bill Crowley reported that Nursing Administrator Donna Warzynski has been nominated and selected for a nursing leadership award which she will be receiving on Saturday in Appleton at the Annual Conference of the Wisconsin Nurses Association. Each year they award the “Vivian DeBeck Nursing Leadership Award”. It was moved by Mr. Kavanaugh, seconded by Mr. Miller and carried on a voice vote that the Long Term Care Committee prepare a letter of commendation to be sent to Donna Warzynski. Secretary Scocos commented on the achievements at Union Grove with the expansion of Boland Hall and the management of the King Veterans Home. Staffing issues at King have greatly improved. The Homes have been tasked to come up with a business plan to ensure the solvency of the Homes and look into the future. The veterans population demographics are changing and WDVA has to meet the needs of those veterans of the 21st Century. We need to look at incorporating new facilities within the King Home to make it competitive. Over $100,000 was put in the budget for the marketing of King. The Secretary spoke to the Union and was very proud of the accomplishments over the past three years. The Union representatives told the Secretary we are on the right track and cooperating as a team. 5. Public Input. None. 6. Committee Members’ Matters (Not Subject to Adoption). As an agenda item for the December meeting the Committee wants to receive a brief overview of the Work Therapy Program, how it is funded and if it will be incorporated at Union Grove. 7. Next Meeting Schedule. December 7, 2006 at the Wisconsin Veterans Home in Union Grove. Mr. Stenavich asked Commandant Brower to bring his key staff for introduction at the meeting. 8 Adjournment. It was moved by Mr. Kavanaugh, seconded by Mr. Miller and carried unanimously on a voice vote to adjourn the meeting, the time was 4:35 p.m. Walter Stenavich, Acting Chairman
MINUTES FINANCIAL COMMITTEE WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS Meeting of October 19, 2006 Committee Present Pete Moran Connie Allord John O’Brien Jim Endres Al Kochenderfer Jim Gausmann Joe Campbell Committee Excused Don Heiliger Mike Demske Bill Bottoms WDVA Present John A. Scocos, Secretary William Kloster, Deputy Secretary Bill Crowley, Commandant, WVH-King Glen Brower, Commandant, WVH-Union Grove John Rosinski, Chief Legal Counsel Ken Black, Division of Veterans Benefits Ken Abrahamsen, Budget Director Colleen Holtan, Financial Officer Andy Schuster, Public Relations Director Julie Van Metre, Executive Staff Assistant Others Present Russ Alsteen, Navy Club Cleon Brown, USSVWWII Rick Cherone, MOPH Donna Chrzas, Columbia CVSO Roger Fetterly Paul Fine, ANU Marvin Freedman, Board Member Kathy Gausmann, Monroe CVSO Jesse Haro, CWV Holly Hoppe, Oconto CVSO Bill Hustad, WVV Michael Jackson, CVSOA President Ken Koon Steve Lawrence, VFW Adjutant John Margowski, Waukesha CVSO Arnold Miller Ted Mynyk, Iron CVSO Jerry Rabetski, PLAV Cletus Rataichek, AMVETS Commander Vera Roddy, UWV President Ron Rutkowski, VVAW Larry Smerling, Winnebago CVSO Clif Sorenson, Eau Claire CVSO Jim Stahl Walter Stenavich, Board Member Jack Stone, PVA Jim Tratz
1. Call to Order and Roll Call. The meeting of the Financial Committee was called to order at 1:30 p.m. to hear a WDVA briefing (see Exhibit 1). The Committee stood in recess after the WDVA briefing. A quorum was present at the briefing and upon reconvening at 4:40 p.m. 2. Certification of Notice of Meeting. Notice of meeting was certified. 3. Approval of Minutes. It was moved by Mr. Endres, seconded by Mr. Gausmann and carried on a voice vote to approve the minutes of the August 18, 2006 meetings.
4. Secretary’s Matters. Secretary Scocos said his goal is to always have a plan to present to the Legislature and the Joint Committee on Finance about our goals and needs for the future. It should be pushed out to 2011. The solvency of the Homes is important. The Mortgage Loan Repayment Fund needs to be built up for the future. We looked administratively as to how we could fine-tune our programs for success and financial change. The Secretary complimented Colleen Holtan for her financial reports. The Secretary is looking at how other states’ Veterans Homes operate. The key issues are manpower, costs, and operation. The Department will provide to the Committee and the Board what the options are for the future of the WDVA headquarters. Our stakeholders will have the opportunity to give input on a museum and headquarters building. Q: There were many delays in getting our facility up and running at Union Grove because of the contractor, were there any clauses in the contract allowing for penalties? A: No. We do not do the contracting. The contract is done through the Department of Administration and the Division of Facilities Services. 5. Public Input. None. 6. Committee Members’ Matters (Not Subject to Adoption). None. 7. Next Meeting Date. December 7, 2006 at the Wisconsin Veterans Home in Union Grove. 8. Adjournment. It was moved by Mr. Campbell, seconded by Mr. Endres and carried on a voice vote to adjourn the meeting, the time was 4:50 p.m. Pete Moran Chairman
MINUTES COUNCIL ON VETERANS PROGRAMS WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS Meeting of October 20, 2006 Members Present Russ Alsteen, NCUSA Paul Bialk, MCL Pat Brown, USSVWWII Rick Cherone, MOPH Paul Fine, ANU Jesse Haro, CWV Bill Hustad, WVV Chris Kanios, VFW Jon LiDonne, CVSO Association John Margowski, VVA Jerry Rabetski, PLAV Vera Roddy, UWV Ron Rutkowski, VVAW Clif Sorenson, WACVO Jack Stone, PVA Tim Thiers, AMVETS Members Excused Maurice Jackson, DAV Bud Mautz, Am. Legion Walter Peterson, Am. ExPOW William Sims, NABV Mike Smith, ARC Paul Weprinsky, JWV WWI vacancy FCDV vacancy WDVA Present John A. Scocos, Secretary William Kloster, Deputy Secretary Ken Abrahamsen, Budget Director Bill Crowley, Commandant, WVH-King Glen Brower, Commandant, WVH-Union Grove Colleen Holtan, Budget Office Ken Black, Division of Veterans Benefits John Rosinski, Chief Legal Counsel Andrew Schuster, Communications Director Julie Van Metre, Executive Staff Assistant Others Present Connie Allord Joe Campbell Donna Chrzas, Columbia CVSO Jim Endres Roger Fetterly Marvin Freedman, Board Member Jim Gausmann, LaCrosse CVSO Mark Grams, Dodge CVSO Don Heiliger, Board Member Holly Hoppe, Oconto CVSO Michael Jackson, CVSOA President Kevin Kavanaugh Al Kochenderfer Ken Koon Steve Lawrence, VFW Adjutant Arnold Miller Pete Moran, Board Member Ted Mynyk, Iowa CVSO John O’Brien Cletus Rataichek, AMVETS Commander Lee and Dar Schuff, MOPH Commander/President John Solis, Rock CVSO Walter & Ann Stenavich, Board Member James Young, Vernon CSO
1. Call to Order and Roll Call of Members. The meeting of the Council on Veterans Programs was called to order by Chairman Alsteen at 8:00 a.m. The Chairman acknowledged new members to the Council: Jon LiDonne from the CVSO Association; Maurice Jackson from the DAV; Chris Kanios from the VFW; and John Margowski from VVA.
2. Certification of Notice of Meeting. It was certified that proper notice of the meeting occurred. 3. Introduction of Guests and Announcements. None. 4. Approval of Minutes. It was moved by Mr. Fine, seconded by Mr. Margowski and carried unanimously on a voice vote to accept the minutes of the August 17-18 meetings. 5. Council Communications. Chairman Alsteen received communication from the Veterans Assistance Foundation. In response to that communication, the Secretary sent each Council member a letter explaining the position of the Department. The Council had no further comment on the matter. It was moved by Mr. Sorenson, seconded by Mr. Fine and carried on a voice vote to receive and file the correspondence sent by Bob Piaro of the Veterans Assistance Foundation. Chairman Alsteen said a letter was sent by Secretary Scocos to the Chairman of the Special Committee on Affirmative Action and each Council member received a copy. Chairman Alsteen received a letter from Secretary Scocos regarding discharge status and eligibility for state veterans’ benefits. 6. Museum Foundation Report. The Museum Gala is scheduled for Saturday, October 21st. There is a new exhibit in the Museum called Belly of the Dragon. The Golf outing was very successful. The Museum web site is being updated. 7. Council Members’ Recommendation on Eligibility as Relates to Character of Discharge Under current state statutes, a resident of Wisconsin who has served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces or in incorporated forces is generally eligible for state veterans benefits if he or she has served under honorable conditions. Additionally, if the individual is determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to be eligible for federal benefits, the veteran is considered to have served under honorable conditions for the purpose of receiving state veterans benefits. • • • • CVSOA: This issue came up at the CVSO Fall Conference and after much discussion the vote was 33 to leave the benefit the way it is and 11 opposed. MCL: General consensus at the fall meeting was that the requirement should be honorable discharge and previous veterans grandfathered in. WACVO: Members responded that they wanted no change and we continue to support a liberal interpretation of always ruling in the veteran’s favor whenever possible. Navy Clubs: Squadron state meeting unanimously voted for honorable discharges only.
Q: Where does the money come from for the Montgomery G.I. Bill and how did it pass Congress that way? A: The Montgomery G.I. Bill is a federal program and the money comes from the federal government. It comes out of Department of Defense budget.
Secretary Scocos said there are numerous reasons that a service member may get a general discharge. In numerous cases, the underlying reasons have no relationship to actual misconduct. Restricting state eligibility to those veterans who have been determined to be eligible for federal benefits provides a sufficient safeguard in limiting state benefits to those whose conduct does not warrant ineligibility for those benefits. It was moved by Mr. Sorenson and seconded by Mr. Cherone to support the status quo as it relates to eligibility with WDVA. The motion passed by a show of hands--16 members voted in support of the motion and 3 members voted against the motion. 8. Discussion and Possible Action on Letters to Sen. Brown and Rep. Loeffelholz Regarding Inactive Members of the Council on Veterans Programs. The subcommittee of the Council met and brought forward to the body as a whole that it should send a letter to Senator Brown and Representative Loeffelholz for deletion of the Federation of Culturally Diverse Veterans and the Veterans of World War I, as well as the inclusion of two new members, the MOAA and TREA to the Council on Veterans Programs. . The only way to add or delete members of the Council is through the legislative process. The letter should ask for the introduction of a bill to accomplish this request. The final draft of the legislation will be available at the next meeting of the Council. It was moved, seconded and carried on a voice vote to accept the recommendation of the Council’s Subcommittee to send a letter to Senator Brown and Rep. Loeffelholz recommending legislation be drafted to delete the FCDV and WWI veteran’s organizations and add the MOAA and TREA to the Council on Veterans Programs. 9. Secretary’s Matters. Secretary Scocos presented a plaque to Jim Gausmann, the County Veterans Service Officer for LaCrosse County. Secretary Scocos said he is putting together a budget packet to go to the Legislature to include a letter from each organization. He met with the Commanders and briefed them on where we are going with the budget and how important it was for them to help us with this budget. The heart and sole of this budget is using general purpose dollars versus Trust Fund dollars for our administrative costs. There are other proposals: property tax changes, residency changes and going from 100% to 30% disability. 10. Old Business. None. 11. New Business. Chairman Alsteen thanked each member of the Council for their cooperation during his tenure as chair. He thanked WDVA and the Board for their cooperation as well. Mr. Alsteen talked about accomplishments of the Council during his term of office. He hopes to see the Council continue to be proactive. 12. Activities within the Veterans Community. UWV annual Union Grove Day honoring women veterans who are residents of the Union Grove Veterans Home is next Friday. On Saturday, October 28th the Women Veterans Community is hosting the all-services women veterans’ luncheon in Milwaukee.
Two Navy ships are being built, one in Louisiana called the USS Green Bay and the USS Freedom in Marinette. November 4th is the annual Veterans Day Parade in Milwaukee at 11:00 a.m. November 11 at 6:30 is the annual Veterans Banquet where a presentation will be made to the Veteran of the Year. An Americanism Breakfast will be held on October 29th at the War Memorial.
Mr. Margowski encouraged everyone to vote in the November election. 13. Election of Officers. Clif Sorenson was nominated for Chairman. Tim Thiers was nominated for Chairman. Tim Thiers declined. It was moved by Mr. Rabetski, seconded by Mr. Thiers and carried on a voice vote to cast one unanimous ballot for Clif Sorenson for Chairman of the Council. Paul Fine was nominated for Vice Chairman. It was moved by Mr. Margowski, seconded by Mr. Rabetski and carried on a voice vote to cast one unanimous ballot for Paul Fine for Vice Chairman of the Council. Russ Alsteen was nominated for Secretary. It was moved by Mr. LiDonne, seconded by Mr. Cherone and carried on a voice vote to cast one unanimous ballot for Russ Alsteen for Secretary of the Council. 14. Next Meeting Date. December 7 and 8 at the Wisconsin Veterans Home in Union Grove. 15. Adjournment. It was moved by Mr. Margowski, seconded and carried on a voice vote to adjourn. The time was 9:05 a.m. Clif Sorenson Chairman
BOARD MINUTES WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS Meeting of October 20, 2006 La Crosse, Wisconsin
Board Members Present Mack Hughes, via teleconference Pete Moran Marv Freedman Walter Stenavich Don Heiliger Board Members Excused Ken Wendt Kathy Marschman WDVA Present John A. Scocos, Secretary Bill Kloster, Deputy Secretary Glen Brower, Commandant-Union Grove Bill Crowley, Commandant-King Ken Black, Division of Veterans Benefits Ken Abrahamsen, Budget Director Colleen Holtan, Financial Officer Andrew Schuster, Communications John Rosinski, Chief Legal Counsel Julie Van Metre, Executive Staff Assistant Others Present Connie Allord Russ Alsteen, Navy Club Paul Bialk, Marine Corps League Cleon Brown, USSVWWII Joe Campbell Rick Cherone, MOPH Donna Chrzas, Columbia CVSO Jim Endres, AMVETS Roger Fetterly Paul Fine, ANU Rick Gates, CVSO Association/Polk CVSO Jim Gausmann, LaCrosse CVSO Mark Grams, Dodge CVSO Jesse Haro, CWV Holly Hoppe, Oconto CVSO Michael Jackson, CVSOA President Senator Dan Kapanke Kevin Kavanaugh Al Kochenderfer Ken Koon Jon LiDonne, Waupaca CVSO John Margowski, VVA/Waukesha CVSO Arnold Miller Ted Mynyk, Iowa CVSO John O’Brien Jerome Rabetski, PLAV Cletus Rataichek, AMVETS Commander Vera Roddy, UWV Ron Rutkowski, VVAW Lee & Dar Schuff, MOPH Commander & President Rep. Jennifer Shilling Larry Smerling, Winnebago CVSO John Solis, Rock CVSO Clif Sorenson, Eau Claire CVSO Ann Stenavich Jack Stone, PVA Tim Thiers, Manitowoc CVSO Jim Young, Vernon CVSO Joe Zimmerman, VISN 12
1. Roll Call and Introductions The meeting of the Board of Veterans Affairs was called to order at 9:10 a.m. A quorum was present after roll call of members. Representative Jennifer Shilling and Senator Dan Kapanke were introduced and both spoke to the Board about the need to support veterans’ issues in the legislature and they welcomed the group to their district.
A plaque was presented to outgoing CVSO Association President, Rick Gates by Secretary Scocos and Board Member Pete Moran. 2. Certification of Notice of Meeting It was certified that proper notification of the meeting occurred. It was moved by Mr. Heiliger, seconded by Mr. Stenavich and carried on a voice vote to consider agenda item #8 before agenda item #7. 3. Approval of Minutes It was moved by Mr. Heiliger, seconded by Mr. Stenavich and carried unanimously on a voice vote to approve the minutes of the August 17-18 Board meeting. It was moved by Mr. Freedman, seconded by Mr. Heiliger and carried unanimously on a voice vote to approve the minutes of the Board teleconference of September 14, 2006. 4. Board Members’ Matters Mr. Freedman attended the September 11th Remembrance Tribute that was sponsored by WDVA. It was a moving ceremony. At noon that day, Tim Mayer of the Fallen Soldiers Project and families of military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan joined together for a ceremony. Tim Mayer has prepared a portrait of every man and woman killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mr. Freedman had the opportunity to join a number of members of the Board on September 15th for the POW-MIA Recognition Day Ceremony at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum. Mr. Moran attended the POW-MIA Recognition ceremony as well as the UW Badger football game veteran salute. 5. Board Action from Committee and Council Meetings CVSO Advisory Council meeting of October 19, 2006. Ms. Hoppe, Chair of the Council, reported that CVSOs talked about getting the forms they need to identify technical changes. They discussed the appeals process within WDVA. Information about the Women’s Forum to be held on December 13th was distributed. No matters came before the Council for Board action. She encouraged her fellow veterans to vote and wished everyone a happy Veterans Day and to wear your medals proudly on that day. Legislative and Program Review Committee meeting of October 19, 2006. Mr. Freedman explained that he provided a clarification as to how the Committee would act on Resolutions. In summary he indicated that one of the things that is extraordinarily important to the Committee is that VSO, CVSO and third party input through resolutions and other means are highly valued and often provide the Committee and Board with new ideas to enhance services and their delivery. The Committee will only act on future resolutions if the submitting party makes a specific request for concurrence with the resolution. If concurrence takes place, there will be no changes made. Otherwise all resolutions will be received and filed. However if the Committee desires to act on the subject matter of the resolution it may consider and act on the matter as a separate motion, using its own language and making it clear that the action reflects the committee’s position and not the VSOs or third party’s position. The Legislative and Program Review Committee took the following action:
AMVETS Resolution #4 relating to residency requirements was received and filed. DAV Resolution #3 concerning college reimbursement for dependents was received and filed due to the fact that the WDVA had included this issue in its budget and the Board had already approved its inclusion in the Department’s budget submission. DAV Resolution #7 suggests that coding on driver’s licenses and state identification cards delineate the disability rating of veterans so that they could take advantage of waived or reduced fees. The Resolution was received and filed. DAV Resolution #9 recommended that a one-year fee be charged for a five year disabled veterans license plate and that resolution was received and filed. CVSO Resolution #4 pertaining to the pre-registration process with respect to the education program was reconsidered and rewritten at its fall conference and will be brought before the Committee at its December meeting. American Legion Resolution #6 relating to the commercial development of the VA grounds in Milwaukee was received and filed with the understanding that this subject would be placed on the December agenda. Mr. Heiliger asked that if the Committee or the Board thinks the subject matter is something we want to deal with in a different way, can that happen at the same meeting or should it be put on the agenda for the next meeting? Mr. Rosinski was asked to prepare a memo explaining when it would be appropriate to act during the course of the meeting during which the resolution comes up from the standpoint of germaneness and how the issue of germaneness might require it to be noticed and carried forward to the next meeting. Mr. Stenavich asked that when a resolution comes up, shouldn’t the veterans group who wrote the resolution be here to fully explain it? Mr. Freedman explained that when faced with the lack of guidance, whether by someone from the submitting party or the Department, he would operate under the assumption that there was no specific action requested and in light of that, the Committee would receive and file the resolution. Long Term Care Committee meeting of October 19, 2006. Mr. Stenavich said the next meeting will be at Union Grove where the Veterans Home staff will be introduced. The Committee took no action for Board consideration. Financial Committee meeting of October 19, 2006: Mr. Moran said the Committee heard a briefing by Colleen Holtan. The Committee passed no motions to bring before the Board. Council on Veterans Programs meeting of October 20, 2006: Mr. Alsteen said the Council took action to remain status quo on eligibility as it relates to character of discharge. They endorsed MOAA and TREA as new members to the Council and to delete the Federation of Culturally Diverse Veterans and the Veterans of World War I due to inactivity. Procedures were set forth to have legislation prepared to accomplish that change. Mr. Alsteen talked about two new ships, the USS Green Bay and the USS Freedom. He said that the Council elected new officers: Clif Sorenson as Chairman, Paul Fine as Vice
Chairman and Russ Alsteen as Secretary. The Board thanked Mr. Alsteen for his strong leadership on the Council on Veterans Programs. It was moved by Mr. Heiliger, seconded by Mr. Stenavich and carried on a voice vote to accept the reports of Councils and Committees. 6. VISN 12 and 23 Reports Mr. Joe Zimmerman, the strategic planner at the VISN 12 office reported for both VISN 12 and VISN 23. He brought regards from Rene Oshinski and Jim Roseborough who were not able to attend. Mr. Roseborough was with Secretary Nicholson in Appleton yesterday. • The Director at Hines, Jack Hettrick has been selected as the VISN 10 Network Director. • Nat Geraths, the Director at Madison has been on detail in New Mexico for some time and his official return is on Monday. • VISN 12 has a new staff member, Terry Boldin from the Detroit VA. He is a nurse who is the patient safety officer. • Budget: Currently in fiscal year ’07 and operating on a continuing resolution that runs through November 17th. The fiscal year ’07 presidential budget looks good for VISN 12. They are looking at a six to seven percent increase. • Construction: Hines has been selected for a Fisher House in 2008. Fisher House is where the families of patients can stay close to the hospital. The Madison facility has completed an outpatient mental health treatment area. They also had renovations on a research area and completed renovation in the emergency department area. There is still a proposal for a 36-bed nursing home care unit to be located at Madison. The Milwaukee spinal cord injury unit major construction was included in the Senate. VISN 23’s spinal cord injury project is approved and is going forward at Minneapolis with a completion date of Fall 2008. • The Milwaukee enhanced use lease is an ongoing issue. There are six underutilized buildings and about 34 acres in the scope of that project. The Office of Asset Enterprise Management in Washington drives the VA position in the City of Milwaukee. The OAEM Director for the Milwaukee EUL is Claude Hutchinson. • In Tomah there is a design awarded for the renovation of their psychiatric unit. • The Jesse Brown VAMC continues to consolidate certain specialty clinics at the main campus. • The State of Illinois is interested in renovating a vacant building on the Hines campus for a 60-70 bed state nursing home facility. Building 53 on the Hines campus is used by Catholic Charities for low income senior living and a transitional center in another vacant building. The senior living is veteran priority and the transitional housing is all veterans. • Mr. Roseborough’s emphasis on the returning OIF/OEF veteran is to bring family caregivers into play by having support group meetings and assisting them, particularly regarding mental health issues. This concept of reaching out to the family is being done successfully at Milwaukee and will be a model for all facilities. • Participating in traumatic brain injury training for all clinical staff. Hines has been delegated as a Poly-Trauma II site. Minneapolis is one of the few Poly Trauma I sites. These are referral centers for the OIF/OEF returning veterans that have multiple injuries.
• Over 1,000 troops are scheduled to come through Ft. McCoy within the next few weeks and the Tomah staff is working with those personnel. • Information security: VISN 12 has recalled all laptops that are used by any staff within the Network and installed encryption software on all of them. They installed public key infrastructure, another security protection, on all desktop computers. Any kind of data breach is reported to Washington within an hour of being discovered. The Deputy Secretary gets a rollup of those on a daily basis. • Mr. Robert McDivitt was recently named to be the Medical Center Director for the Fargo VA Medical Center. Mr. McDivitt had served as the Deputy Director for VISN 23. • Iron Mountain has a 40-bed nursing home that will be totally redone. Item 8 (renumbered 7). Establish Procedures for Resolutions Sent to the Board of Veterans Affairs. The first question raised was whether resolutions may be reviewed directly by the Board or must be initially presented to and acted upon by the Legislative and Program Review Committee. The second question is whether the Committee or the Board may modify a resolution and then take action upon the modified resolution. Mr. Rosinski said the current Board Rules of Procedure states that all resolutions coming from state conventions of Wisconsin veterans organizations shall be channeled through the Legislative and Program Review Committee. If the Board desires to consider these resolutions without committee action, an amendment needs to be made to the Rules of Procedure permitting direct action by the Board. As to the second question, Mr. Rosinski recommends that the Committee or the Board consider a resolution only if the veteran’s organization formally submits the resolution for action and then should table, approve or deny the resolution, without modification. The veteran’s organization authoring the resolution should have full control over it. It may want to submit the resolution for information purposes only. If the Committee or Board subsequently addresses the issue in a manner not fully consistent with the resolution, the action should be taken as a separate, distinct action of the Committee or the Board. Mr. Stenavich would like to see the veteran’s service organization legislative chair or a representative of the organization be present at the meeting when their resolutions are considered. Mr. Freedman suggested that when we’re looking for who speaks for them, it is possible that the State Commander might designate a party who is authorized. That would address concerns that we have been having. Mr. Moran asked Mr. Rosinski to develop Board Rules of Procedure language to clarify the resolution procedure that the Board could consider at its December meeting. Mr. Freedman said if new Rules are developed, it is imperative that the rules encourage the continued submission of ideas and suggestions and recommendations from the veterans community and that this process doesn’t create impediments to the productive flow of information from the veterans community to the Board. Mr. Freedman thought it was imperative that anything that is prepared by legal counsel for consideration or discussion not be acted on at the December meeting, but that the Board provides discussion, feedback and suggestions. He would like to hear from organizations who submit resolutions and suggestions to the Board. Finally, any formal action by the Board should not take place until at least the February Board meeting. Secretary Scocos agreed and suggested that any changes to the resolution process begin in December and work its way through to mid-April when the stakeholder conference can become involved and then be brought back to the Board in June.
Mr. Moran asked Chief Legal Counsel to prepare suggested modifications to the Rules of Procedure addressing the concerns of Mr. Stenavich, Mr. Heiliger and Mr. Freedman as well as the veteran’s community for discussion at the December meeting and subsequent meetings. Item 7 (renumbered 8). CVSO Resolution 4; AMVETS Resolution 4; DAV Resolutions 3, 7, 10; and American Legion Resolution 6. Mr. Freedman said that earlier the reports to the Board from the Committees were accepted. It was moved by Mr. Freedman, seconded by Mr. Stenavich and carried unanimously on a voice vote that the Board goes on record of receiving and filing AMVETS Resolution 4, DAV Resolutions 3, 7, 10 and American Legion Resolution 6. There was no action on CVSO Resolution 4 because the matter will be placed on the Committee’s agenda for December. 9. Action on Recommending a Feasibility Study for Buying and Converting a Nursing Home in Superior to Provide Service for Veterans. Secretary Scocos said about a year and a half ago Representative Boyle and Mr. Moran were contacted by the County and City officials to take a look at a private nursing facility. The Department visited the site and talked to the community and found some positives and negatives. The major initiative of WDVA was the development of a 120-bed facility in northern Wisconsin in Chippewa Falls. The solvency of our current homes is a key issue as well. Silver Bay, Minnesota has a facility that is only half filled now. One of the options that we looked at with Congressman Obey’s office was to come together to earmark a study in the next budget to meet the needs of both Wisconsin veterans and Minnesota veterans. The community also collaborated with the Native American Nation for a small 44-49 bed facility. The Native Americans have decided that this is not something they want to participate in right now. WDVA’s priority is establishing a facility in Chippewa Falls. By the time we could get something established for Superior, the proposed facility would be outdated. Right now, Secretary Scocos felt the best option would be to work with the Congressional Delegation to see if they can come up with an agreement between Minnesota and Wisconsin to fill the beds in Silver Bay. Mr. Moran asked the Secretary to prepare a letter detailing this and send a copy to the County Board Chairman, Rep. Boyle and Senator Jauch. 10: City of Milwaukee’s Proposal for VA Grounds at Wood and to What Degree it Encompasses or Differs from the Freedom Center Proposal. The City of Milwaukee was not present at the Board meeting. It was moved by Mr. Freedman, seconded by Mr. Heiliger and carried on a voice vote that the Department be directed to invite appropriate USDVA officials to appear before the December Board meeting for the purpose of briefing the Board on the US Department of Veterans Affairs master plan for the short term and long term development of the historical district and surrounding areas on the grounds of the Zablocki Veterans Hospital in Milwaukee. 11. Secretary’s Matters The Secretary thanked Jim Gausmann and American Legion Post 52 for allowing the Department to use the facility for the meeting.
• The Secretary attended the Vietnam Veterans of America Convention in Wausau. • He spent military reserve duty in Washington, DC the Secretary of the Army and Defense announced that we are preparing rotations for 2010. • WDVA is putting together an executive summary of the budget and it will go out to all the VSOs and stakeholders and union leadership. • Secretary Scocos briefed the VSO Commanders and the Unions of AFSCME on our budget. • Mission Welcome Home is a fruitful initiative and an update on that will be presented at the December meeting. • Museum options from Potter Lawson will be brought before the Board and then go to a stakeholder conference so everyone has input. • Preparing editorials on how important the general purpose budget dollars will be for the Department. • In December WDVA will honor Donna Warzynski who is receiving a nurse’s award from the State of Wisconsin. Along with that we will have a Pearl Harbor Day ceremony and a building dedication in honor of John Maurer. • Veterans Day theme for this year is Thankful Remembrance. The Secretary will be in the Milwaukee Veterans Day Parade on November 4th and on November 11th he will be in the Madison Parade. Mr. Schuster highlighted events that have taken place and those coming up: • Flyers were available for all news releases sent out since the first of September and also the County Veteran Service Officer bulletins. • September 1—500 attended Veterans Benefit Information Fair at Ft. McCoy. • September 11—The Last Alarm Fire Bell Remembrance of the strikes on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon. It was sponsored by WDVA and the Madison Veterans Council. • September 15—POW-MIA Recognition Day event at the Museum. Commander Albert Kath was the keynote speaker. • September 16—UW Badger football game veterans salute. Board Chairman Mack Hughes received an official game ball from Barry Alvarez, which will be displayed at Department headquarters. • October 21 is the last showing on the History Channel of the Flags of Our Fathers. • October 21—Wisconsin Veterans Museum 5th annual tribute to freedom Gala. • November 4—Milwaukee Veterans Day Parade. Many schools are doing their programs on Friday, November 10. • November 9—first airing of the Korean War Stories. • November 11—Chairman Hughes speaking at King; Mr. Stenavich speaking at Southern Cemetery and Mr. Moran is speaking at the Northern Cemetery. • December 7—Pearl Harbor Day Program at Union Grove at 10:30 a.m. • December 13—Women Veterans Forum will be held at Department Headquarters in Madison. • January 17—Second state Gulf War Illnesses Recognition Day program at the Museum. • January 28-29—Korean War Stories • February 20—Salute to the Legislature, the VFW has the lead this year. 12. Public Input.
Mr. Joe Campbell said the VVA had its convention in Wausau on September 23rd and Secretary Scocos was honored with the VVA Distinguished Service Award for his continued diligence for all veterans, the services that are provided and especially his visibility. It will officially be presented at the December Board meeting. Mr. Campbell said he co-founded Being There, Reaching Out which is for the families of fallen service members from the State of Wisconsin. He and Judith Singer started the organization about two years ago and it has grown in numbers. Families share amongst themselves and counselors only as they know and it is a wonderful healing experience. Mr. Campbell represents the Veterans Board of Directors in Milwaukee. He was given the vote of confidence with a position statement that says that they oppose any commercial development of land at the VA grounds in Milwaukee. The minutes of the last Board meeting briefly covered a lot of information on the subject. He noted that this is the second oldest national cemetery in the United States. It is a veteran community. The Fisher House concept would be a tremendous addition to Milwaukee but that’s controlled by the US Department of Veterans Affairs, approved by Secretary Nicholson. 13. Other Matters (Not Subject to Adoption). Mr. Freedman encouraged all veterans to wear their medals on Veterans Day, Memorial Day and other occasions of significance to the veteran’s community. It provides a visual reminder to the public of each veteran’s service and sacrifice. Mr. Freedman spoke about an awareness of the increasing occurrence of Post Traumatic Stress Disorders in returning Iraq and Afghan veterans. The veterans’ community should be briefed on the programs of Washington State and New Jersey that supplement the programs provided by VA and others for the treatment of PTSD and related psychological impairments as the result of military service. Mr. Freedman asked that two articles be circulated: an 8-page Special Report by U.S. News & World Report titled Treating War’s Toll on the Mind and a Newsweek Article on Battlefield Flashbacks. He noted that there has been a 36% increase in Vietnam Vets who have sought help with respect to PTSD since 2003 and the beginning of the War in Iraq. (Articles attached to these minutes.) 14. Next Meeting Date and Location December 7 and 8 at the Wisconsin Veterans Home in Union Grove. 15. Adjournment It was moved by Mr. Heiliger, seconded by Mr. Stenavich and carried on a voice vote to adjourn the meeting at 11:25 a.m. Pete Moran,, Acting Chairman
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