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Last Thursday, 26 June 2014, Mr. Sloan Gibson, acting Secretary of the VA, was to be at the Gainesville VA Hospital to speak in the Auditorium at 12:00.  We had heard, through the grapevine, that there was going to be extra security, etc., so we got up there at 7:30 am.  We wanted to be sure that we got a seat.

Between the Security Guards and the Public Affairs Officer, they tried to throw us out no less than five times.  They stated it was a closed meeting, for employees only, etc.  We stood our ground that we were entitled to be in the meeting as disabled vets.  We ended up having to threaten to call the local new media and site the Sunshine Law.  They finally left us alone.  We watched them setting up things and we actually watched them unplug the sound to the over-flow room.

At 11:30 am or there about, people started filing in.  I looked at my husband and stated to him – something is wrong here, they aren’t dressed right. I only saw one person in blue jeans.  I kept watching the security officer and he finally made a slashing sign across his throat to indicate all seats were taken.  Most people were dressed to the nines – something you don’t see there.  It was apparent to me at that point that this was nothing more than a dog and pony show.  When it came time to ask questions, there were no questions asked – people that were permitted to speak were using cue cards.  It would seem to me if you worked at the VA hospital you would know exactly what you wanted to say without the use of cue cards.  I had raised my hand several times because I wanted to bring up the issues we have been having over Special Mode Transport, but my raised hand was ignored.  These people that stood up to say something all sang the praises of the Gainesville VA hospital.  Not one single solitary complaint.  How odd.  Then, they weren’t able to hear any questions from the over-flow room.  It wasn’t until the following day that we heard that the employees were told they could NOT attend the meeting that all seats were taken and they could listen from the over-flow room.  The only problem with that is there was no sound.  So, not only could they not hear what the Secretary was saying, they couldn’t ask questions.

At approximately 1:00 pm we moved to another location to attend a meeting with the Secretary and the Veteran Service Officers.  They sat me, at least, it a hole in the back of the room where people kept running into my leg with someone entered or exited the room.  Amazingly, the only two call in’s were from Congressional staffers.  One from Rubio’s office and I don’t remember the second one.  Again, it was more of a dog and pony show.  I was very disappointed in the meetings.

Where does one lay the blame for this fiasco?  With Gainesville for setting things up to look like a literal nirvana, or with the Secretary – because he didn’t want to hear the problems?  I suspect it is somewhere in the middle.  

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (14+ / 0-)

    “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” ~ Aristotle

    by byardl on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:43:09 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for the report. N/t (7+ / 0-)

    http://hannah.smith-family.com

    by hannah on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:01:58 AM PDT

  •  Sure sounds like a "dog and pony" event (6+ / 0-)

    Intended to make the place look good to the VIP. However, I don't think the fact that speakers had cards is necessarily an issue. I'm a trained and highly accomplished public speaker, and I would still have a note card if I were to speak at an event like this. More to the point, how did it happen that many (all?) those who spoke just happened to have a note card handy? It suggests to me a possibility that there was pre-assignment of those who would be called on to speak, so those folks came prepared.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:28:49 AM PDT

    •  That is exactly my point Catte Nappe (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, BlackSheep1, Lujane

      That these "employees" were hand selected, if in fact they were employees.  Under normal circumstances I would agree with you on the note cards, as I would do the same if I were to give say a 5-15 speech.  These folks took about 15 seconds to make their glowing comments.  

      “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” ~ Aristotle

      by byardl on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:58:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ok...One of those employees selected... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe, Lujane

        ...is a personal friend of mine.

        Most VA employees typically do not wear jeans to work, especially in the administrative positions. My friend has to wear suit and tie daily. The people at the event were dressed in their typical work attire.

        He was not "hand-picked" to speak. He did not have any cue cards.

        It WAS for employees only. They were surprised that vets were there, and the one that did speak up at the event to speak on a friend of his, that particular friend was at Shands getting seen for his kidney issues.

        •  Really...so how come employees told me (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          byardl, Lujane

          they were not allowed to participate in the teleprompt
          conference?  
          I also know they as a whole do not wear suits and ties at the Community Based clinics and are they not employees?

          Just how much Koch do Right Wingers want in their life? . United Veterans of America

          by Vetwife on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 01:04:57 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I cannot speak to all employees... (0+ / 0-)

            ...but I know the people in my friend's department were there and were not "hand-picked" to be there as was asserted above. He also did NOT have any cue cards.

            Not everyone wears suits and ties...but my friend who was there does wear his to work everyday. In his posistion it is required.

        •  Mr. Patrick is Lucky... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lujane, Vetwife

          Were you, in fact, even there?  I have a news flash for you - I have been going to VA hospitals for well over a decade.  I know for a fact that there were employees that were told first thing Thursday morning that they were not permitted to go to this meeting.  

          Also, as far as dress is concerned - most employees dress comfortably.  Especially here in Florida - the humidity and panty hose are not conducive.  

          “You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor.” ~ Aristotle

          by byardl on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 01:31:44 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I have multiple friends working there... (0+ / 0-)

            I used to live in Gainesville, but I now live in Nashville.

            I had lunch with my friend who I sent a link to this story to when I drove through in April. He arrived at that lunch in suit and tie. This is what HE wears to work every day. (He may be gay...but surely doesn't wear panty-hose under a suit.)

            I am the son of a veteran, so I also have connections to the VA system going back decades.  I also have friends in multiple cities who work for them.

            My post was about you making assumptions that did not comport with the reports I heard.

            I understand you were there, but I know for a fact my friend did not use cue cards as you stated...and he was one of the ones who spoke.

    •  Damn Straight it was (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, byardl, Lujane

      I am the one who informed many that the Sect. was going to be there and had employees telling me it was a handpicked audience and then the sound was cut off during the
      " Any problems anyone wants to report"

      Just how much Koch do Right Wingers want in their life? . United Veterans of America

      by Vetwife on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 01:01:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes. Either than (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      byardl, Vetwife

      or they had to submit their questions / statements in advance.

      Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? ~"The Summer Day," Mary Oliver

      by Miniaussiefan on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 03:07:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  ...Either THAT.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        byardl

        (So that's what the preview function is for.)

        Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? ~"The Summer Day," Mary Oliver

        by Miniaussiefan on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 03:09:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Don't understand ...preview function? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          byardl

          This  was supposed to be an open forum according to
           chief security and what is a preview function.. I am serious I have no clue what you mean.  A townhall setting with questions and answers should not be a preview...but a place to deliver questions and answers regarding the problems at that location.

          Just how much Koch do Right Wingers want in their life? . United Veterans of America

          by Vetwife on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:51:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  If you've seen one VA, you've seen one VA. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Vetwife, byardl, Catte Nappe

    The quality varies widely.

  •  This post makes assertions that do not seem true. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, Lujane

    I have friends who work for the VA in Gainesville. Yes...there are issues, but they did not try to hide them with the acting secretary.

    The audio was bad in the overflow room, but that is due to equipment failure...not a purposeful thing. More a lack of funding issue...imagine that.

    One of the individuals who spoke it a long term friend of mine, someone I have known nearly 15 years. He asked questions of his own volition, and without cue cards.

    When I showed him this story, he responded thusly:
    "First of all, I WAS IN THAT MEETING and people were dressed all typical VA.  Second of all, NO CUE CARDS were distributed and I got to speak (I've got video of it, too), THIRD, there was a vet in there who was speaking on behalf of another vet having issues with his kidneys and was (at that very moment) across the street at Shands trying to get help when the VA would not help him in a timely manner.  Nothing was "dog and pony" and everything was on the up-front. It is full of shit and no idea what meeting that person attended, but the only thing they did get right was the A/V was aweful.  I place that squarely on the shoulders of our VA staffing.  No one had cue cards, no one was hand picked to speak, yes it was for the employees and it surprised me when a veteran stood to speak his concern about his friend/neighbor, and I wish this guys was appointed as the new Secretary.  I don't know this new one, but you saw the Acting Secretary's message this morning about the new nominee.  I thought it was a good meeting and he didn't pull any punches."

    •  He did not pull any punches (0+ / 0-)

      But it was pretty one sided because he couldot hear the complaints until the VSO's met in a separate meeting.
      This was an open meeting as told to veterans and this is not to reflect poorly on the acting secretary but since when does a 90 something year  vet as a fall risk , home nurse a
      walker get denied special mode of transportation being respectful and helpful to veterans because the person going to bring that up was denied the access and was an employee to the meeting?   That happened.

      Just how much Koch do Right Wingers want in their life? . United Veterans of America

      by Vetwife on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:43:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Another point... (0+ / 0-)

    This meeting was simulcast via video conference nationwide.

    There were no issues with that feed at all.

  •  Oh so you know all about (0+ / 0-)

    how great Gainesville is?   I call Bullshit on YOUR report.
    I trust my sources.  How is it you knew all about what happened and you according to your profile is in Nashville Tenn.  How is that even possible?  Did you even see where administration refused to answer about Special Mode of Transportation to CNBC?  Death and Dishonor?   It appears the whitewash of the administrators of Malcolm Randall don't cut ice with me nor the congressional office because three were put on administrative leave.  Give me a break.

    Just how much Koch do Right Wingers want in their life? . United Veterans of America

    by Vetwife on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 01:12:41 PM PDT

    •  From the News (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      byardl
      Employees at the medical center, who agreed to speak on condition of anonymity, said they and their coworkers do not believe they’d have received amnesty if they came forward with the list.

      “They don’t actually mean it,” said one employee.

      http://www.wcjb.com/...

      Just how much Koch do Right Wingers want in their life? . United Veterans of America

      by Vetwife on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 01:21:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  And PiL trusts his source (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Miniaussiefan, Lujane

      If you read his comment he doesn't claim to have been there any more than you were. It is entirely possible - in fact pretty much guaranteed - that multiple people will come away from the same meeting with very different perceptions of how it went. So there really is no call to be dumping ugly rants on him, calling BS.

      “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

      by Catte Nappe on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 02:46:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I used to live in Gainesville... (0+ / 0-)

      and I also trust MY sources.

      My friend who works for the Gainesville VA is an honest and trustworthy fellow I have known for years.

      I also have friends who are former employees of that location who have since transfered to other locations. I trust their reporting as well.

      You say downthread you listened to the recording...as such, you would have heard my friend's voice.

      •  Now .How do I know who your friend is? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        byardl

        I heard a very bad recording considering I know about multitracking and multifunction PA and electronics from years of listening to mixes from professional.. Aaah we have something in common.. you lived in Gainesville and I once lived in Nashville.

        No one is saying there were not really good employees present..  All that is being said, is the meeting looked rehearsed and the audio seemed a lot like Forrest gump when he spoke.

        Just how much Koch do Right Wingers want in their life? . United Veterans of America

        by Vetwife on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 01:22:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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