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LETTERS: New VA chief should fire employees who committed fraud

To the editor:

As an Air Force veteran with more than 20 years of service, I was pleased to see the article about Veterans Affairs (“McDonald outlines plans to reform VA,” Sunday Review-Journal). VA Secretary Robert McDonald acknowledged that part of the problem was tied to performance bonuses VA officials received by falsifying wait-time records. They knowingly kept two sets of records to collect millions of dollars they did not earn.

Yet nowhere in Secretary McDonald’s plan is there any mention of recovering these funds or removing those who stole the funds.

I agree with Mr. McDonald’s comment, “We have to be very careful not to paint every VA employee with the same brush and the same paint, the same tar, the same feathers.” I have received care during the past 10 years at VA facilities and more recently at the $1 billion VA Medical Center in North Las Vegas, and have found the care to be exceptional.

However, I also believe that if you falsify records to collect a performance bonus for services you did not render, you should be terminated after you return the bonus you did not earn.

If Mr. McDonald wants to restore trust in the VA, as he stated during his visit here, he can start by cleaning house of those who knowingly falsified those records and collected the undue bonuses.



Kudos to the VA

To the editor:

I know it is fashionable to complain about the poor service we disabled veterans receive from the Veterans Affairs medical system, but I think it’s only fair to compliment those VA medical staff members who go above and beyond their duty requirements to assist us.

On Aug. 4, I visited my doctor, Maria Diaz, at the VA Southwest Primary Care Clinic in Las Vegas without an appointment, in urgent need of a Department of Motor Vehicles handicap letter. Although the doctor and her nurse had a packed schedule, they interrupted their lunch to provide this disabled veteran with the requested letter.

I communicated my gratitude to them for what they did, and decided that Review-Journal readers should know how much we appreciate VA staff members like the ones at this clinic.



Taxicab Authority

To the editor:

Nevada Taxicab Authority Administrator Charles Harvey is a disgrace to the state (“Activist seeks to oust taxi authority leader,” Monday Review-Journal). He should immediately resign or be ousted from office. Mr. Harvey regulates the scandal-ridden, illegal long-hauling taxicab industry. Resident Shannon Gould has filed a complaint against Mr. Harvey with the Nevada attorney general’s office, charging him with violations of state laws and seeking to have Mr. Harvey terminated.

I praise and support Ms. Gould and the Southern Nevada Watchdogs organization for their courageous stand against Mr. Harvey and the incompetent, inept, scandal-ridden Taxicab Authority. Even within the enforcement division of the authority, some believe Mr. Harvey is not qualified to oversee law enforcement personnel. I agree. The sooner Mr. Harvey is out of office, the better for our state.



Farewell to Harasim

To the editor:

Goodbye to Review-Journal health columnist Paul Harasim (“Age not a factor for career changes,” Sunday Review-Journal).

I enjoyed your columns and wish you well on obtaining your doctorate.



Nation building

To the editor:

Regarding Beth Brown’s letter on capitalism, denigrating our “behemoth” government, I agree that our government is bloated, and it is not perfect. There is no perfect form of government. Thanks to a free press, we probably have less corruption than most nations, and we can vote out those who err.

After reading and rereading Ms. Brown’s letter, I was dismayed that she gave credit to alleged robber barons, industrialists and entrepreneurs for building this great country, but not a word about black slaves, who built mansions and even the White House. She cavalierly dismissed the Civil War. Had it not been fought, slavery might still be present, as it is in other parts of the world.

The government promulgated the G.I. bill, enabling people like me to obtain an education and pay taxes totaling much more than the aid given. This and other programs helped to build this country. Certainly, the titans she mentioned were vital, but many unsung others played an important part.



Teacher shortage

To the editor:

The current problems facing new teachers and with teacher licensing bring back memories of what I experienced and saw in my 35 years of teaching for the Clark County School District. Even back in 1975, the district had the same problems licensing teachers as it’s having today. You would think that after such a long time, CCSD officials could have ironed out these problems, but nothing in the public education bureaucracy is that simple.

I don’t think these people are buffoons, but they can sure act like it, repeating the same mistakes over and over. It exemplifies the basic problem with the entire public education system: Too many chiefs and not enough Indians.



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