Wednesday, August 17, 2011

DAV Supported AB 96, Said Scocos Reappointment as WDVA Secretary "Unacceptable"

Attached is a press release on the DAV Executive Committee reviewing the list of WDVA candidates.

Below is an e-mail sent to the Governor's Office followin the telephone conference held on August 1, 2011.  I was in New Orleans and Commander Johnson was in Green Bay.  JA Bills was in the Governor's Office.  No acknowledgement or response was ever received.

On August 3, 2011, three employees of DWD met with Commander Johnson in Fond du Lac.  The catalyst for the meeting is not clear.  Many false, unsubstantiated assertions were mande.  They told him that DAV was the only veterans group not supporting former Secretary Scocos and asked him to reconvene the Executive Committee.  He refused.



Al Labelle
Legislative Director
Disabled American Veterans
Department of Wisconsin

From: Al Labelle
To: waylon.hurlburt@wisconsin.gov
CC: K.C. Johnson, State Commander; Ken Kuehnl, State Adjutant; Matt Bills, State Judge Advocate
Subject: Post Conference question - Former Secretary John Scocos
Date: Mon, 1 Aug 2011 20:38:00 -0500


Spoke with Commander Kevin Johnson and Judge Advocate Matt Bills after the phone conference with the Governor.  We agreed the conference was both positive and professional.

JA Bills mentioned that upon Commander Johnson and myself leaving the phone conference, he was asked about former WDVA Secretary John Scocos.  According to our conversation, he replied briefly, as requested, The terms 'baggage' and 'unacceptable' were used.  Please make the Governor aware of the Department's Executive Committee (DEC) feelings about former Secretary Scocos.

During the discussion of former Secretary Scocos during our DEC phone conference last Thursday, the DEC felt he is an extremely polarizing figure who raises extreme passion in the veterans community.  He is not a unifying force, but a disruptive one with a profound number of enemies.

Some will use his nomination to attack elected officials and state government agencies.  These attacks will spread from the blogs to the mainstream media.  These negative comments will be a PR embarrassment to state government, i.e. the Governor, and the veterans community. 

DAV has heaped much praise on the Governor for his support of AB 96 and his comments on the hiring and employment of veterans and disabled veterans.  We do not want that to change.

Former Secretary Scocos had 11 years and three kicks of the can to organize WDVA into a smoothly running professional agency.  Instead he went the other way.  He took an organization that performed admirably under his predecessor, Secretary Boland, and planted the seeds of dysfunction and acrimony.

He demonstrated no ability to administer, manage or lead.  DAV received reports that he did not coordinate the activities of his department managers in a positive manner, but instead his poor management style, pitted them against one another.

Scocos wasted valuable time attacking perceived enemies.  Some DAV officials, when making suggestions to better the lives of veterans, felt his wrath instead of his gratitude.

The Veterans Home at Union Grove has low census in some areas, many of the reasons for this occurred under his tenure.  The same can said for the embarrassingly low numbers of veterans currently employed at WDVA.

His poor judgment is best exemplified by his appointing of Ken Black as his assistant.  Black will go down as an abysmal Secretary and choice.

Scocos was fired for just cause.  It is up to the courts to decide whether the proper procedure was followed and whether restitution is warranted, not us.

His name did not receive one vote from the DEC.

Please pass this e-mail onto the Governor for his information.  Thank you for anticipated cooperation.


Al Labelle
Legislative Director
Disabled American Veterans
Department of Wisconsin 

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