Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wisconsin Board of Veterans Affairs Meeting Summary

Meeting of the Wisconsin BOARD OF VETERANS AFFAIRS

Thursday, January 20, 2011, 10:00 a.m., at the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs, 2nd Floor Education Center, 30 W. Mifflin Street, Madison, Wisconsin

NOTICE OF CLOSED SESSION.  The Board of Veterans Affairs will meet by teleconference in open session at 10:00 a.m. at the above-identified location. Prior to calling the meeting to order, the Pledge of Allegiance will be recited. Upon appropriate motion and an affirmative roll call vote, the Board of Veterans Affairs will move into closed session after Agenda Item 6. The Board intends to initially discuss proposed reorganization plans developed by the Department in public session. Those portions of the proposed reorganization plans that involve or could affect collective bargaining issues will be discussed in closed session. Under the provisions of s.19.85(1)(e) the Board may deliberate specified public business in a closed session whenever bargaining reasons require a closed session.

1.  Roll Call

Attendees included all seven Board members: Dan Naylor, Marv Freedman, Rod Moen, Pete Moran (by teleconference), Dave Boetcher, and new, unconfirmed Doyle Board appointees LaMarr Franklin and Andrew Lindgren.

Among the audience members was a member of the Legislative Audit Bureau, who took copious notes during the meeting.  The meeting was otherwise sparsely attended, with one representative each from the VFW, DAV, and CVSO Association.

2.  Certification of Notice of Meeting

It was certified that the meeting was properly noticed. 

3.  Briefing, Board Discussion and Action on the Legislative Audit Bureau Letter Report Recommendations Regarding Rate Setting at the Wisconsin Veterans Homes

Previously on 9/21/10 at a Special Meeting of the Board, the Legislative Audit Bureau (LAB) recommended the Board provide a report to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee by January 24, 2011 on Rate Changes and financial solvency for the Veterans Homes. The Department Secretary Ken Black was directed to provide a plan to the Board.

During the Board Discussion on 1/20/11, Vice Chairman Marv Freedman expressed a combination of disappointment and frustration with the Department’s submitted drafts. He termed the Department’s original draft “inadequate” and the second draft submitted on January 10th “incomplete.” Each options contained in the drafts needed pluses and minuses.

The Board directed the Department Secretary Ken Black to submit a Plan with more specifics by 2/1/11. At the moment if the Board made a Report to the Joint Finance Audit Committee, it would be insufficient.

The Department Secretary Ken Black replied he was “not following” or comprehending the rationale of the Board’s directive.

The Board felt that the options contained in the drafts needed more rationale. They lacked reasoning, specificity and clarity.

4.  Briefing, Board Discussion and Action Regarding WDVA Reorganization and Implementation Timeline

Tabled until the February meeting.

5.  Public Comment (speakers limited to 5 minutes each)

Public Comments were made to the Board from the Union Grove site. A resident said the people living at Union Grove were a “family.” WDVA should be looking out for “the best interest of veterans.”

A group of CNAs were present at the site. One CNA talked about how the $900/month increase in rent forced many residents to leave.

A union employee mentioned how former management misled employees about possible buildings closing. The employees asked management about possible closings and were told their fears were unfounded. They in turn told residents not to worry when in fact there was reason to worry.

6.  Motion for Adjournment of the Open Session and Commencement of the Closed Session to Discuss Proposed Reorganization Plans Developed by the Department

Upon adjournment, the Board went into closed session.

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