LETTERS: VA secretary fails to ask right question

To the editor:

Retired Gen. Eric Shinseki was surely a heroic soldier, having been permanently disabled in Vietnam. But just as surely, he is a lousy administrator as the head of Veterans Affairs. One glaring fact — administrative payroll — should have pointed to this conclusion, and long before recent information surfaced regarding mismanagement within the VA system.

One does not have to have a master’s degree in finance to uncover the fact that the administrative payroll of the VA system was 59 percent of the total payroll. No service-delivery entity can efficiently deliver its product with this kind of lopsided division between administrative and operational payroll. With few exceptions, payroll is the largest cost of operating any business.

The first question any competent CEO should ask when he or she takes over any business is, “What is the administrative payroll, as a percentage of revenue and as a percentage of the total?” Secretary Shinseki has been in his post for more than five years. In that time, he either did not ask this critical question, or he took no action to remedy the problem.

Instead of throwing money at hiring more administrators, Secretary Shinseki should have insisted on hiring more doctors. It’s a no-brainer: fire him.



Defending judge

To the editor:

The story on Judge Catherine Ramsey should send a shock wave of uncertainty through the entire public servant sector in Nevada (“Judge uses city credit card for legal fees,” May 19 Review-Journal). The story makes the case for North Las Vegas City Attorney Sandra Douglass Morgan to refuse representation for Judge Ramsey, because the matter was outside the “course and scope” of the duties of Ms. Morgan’s office. But there’s not a word about how that could even be possible or even what it means.

Judge Ramsey is an elected official, paid by the government. Even if she is as miserable and arrogant as this story reports, how in the world can the government get away with not representing her? If Ms. Ramsey is accused of inappropriate behavior as a supervisor, how does she wind up being personally liable?

Here is a possibility: Could it have anything to do with who is suing her for wrongful termination? Susan Forti, one of our many political operatives and wife to then-Police Chief Joseph Forti, did some work to get Judge Ramsey elected and has clearly taken great umbrage over later being fired.

Judge Ramsey may well be the bane of North Las Vegas’ existence — she even has state Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto ditching her — but she was elected and sworn in to do this job. She is being accused of management dereliction, and she is on her own. Are there any managers or department heads out there in North Las Vegas feeling a chill over this? You had better learn exactly who your employees are, for the day you might be forced to deal administratively with those employees. North Las Vegas is west of the Pecos, where you may find yourself in Ms. Ramsey’s position — dealing with Judge Roy Bean.



Veterans cemetery

To the editor:

Regarding the article on a veterans cemetery (“New bill proposes national veterans cemetery in Las Vegas,” Tuesday Review-Journal online), might I offer a few recommendations to Rep. Dina Titus? The cemetery should be named the Barack Obama Home for Waiting Veterans.

And further, Rep. Titus’ campaign to get this cemetery does not go far enough. Just think of the need for places for those on the Obamacare services wait list. A second facility should be funded and named after the sole person who made that possible, the Harry Reid Home for Waiting Harrycare Needy.



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