USO chief, assistant out of jobs at McCarran lounge

Las Vegas USO Center Director Doug Bradford and his programs assistant have left their positions at the McCarran International Airport lounge, USO volunteers were told in an email by an area manager Wednesday night.

Circumstances of their departure are unclear.

“The purpose of this email is to make you aware of a change for USO Las Vegas. Effective today, Doug Bradford is no longer the Center Director and Marianne Wojciechowicz is no longer Programs Manager,” reads the email from Area Director Al Kaste.

“Doug and Marianne provided services and support to troops and families traveling through McCarran as well as delivering programs at Nellis, Creech, and other military installations and units in Nevada. We thank them for their dedication and wish them well in the future,” Kaste wrote.

A copy of his email, obtained by the Las Vegas Review-Journal, says USO Northwest Florida Center Director Heidi Blair will take over day-to-day operations at the McCarran lounge and the opening of the new Terminal 3 lounge while a search is conducted to replace Bradford and Wojciechowicz.

Calls to Bradford’s cellphone went to a voice mail for Blair. An email sent to Bradford’s USO email wasn’t immediately answered Thursday morning.

USO spokeswoman Gayle Fishel at the USO’s national office in Arlington, Va., said the USO doesn’t comment on personnel matters. She added that the USO is planning to open the Terminal 3 lounge in the spring.

Bradford and Wojciechowicz were the only two paid USO staff members at the Las Vegas Center. They were in charge of about 80 regular volunteers.

Former volunteer Jack Ross, who quit late last year over disdain for high salaries that top USO national executives earn for the nonprofit charity, said, “There was a total disconnect between those two (Bradford and Wojciechowicz) and the volunteers.”

Ross said, “They went seven months without recognizing a volunteer of the month or the quarter. The last plaque was posted in May.”

Fishel said USO has 37 paid staff in similar capacity as Bradford’s former position, center director. She said the USO has 18 direct-report centers and 19 chartered centers. The Las Vegas operation is a direct-report center.

The USO lounge at McCarran serves troops who are traveling by providing free meals and a place to rest, and privacy for them and their loved ones. USO volunteers also obtain gate passes for the families to see the troops depart and return.

Contact reporter Keith Rogers at krogers@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0308. Follow him on Twitter @KeithRogers2.