State of Ohio forfeits $525K for disabled veterans

July 2nd, 2010    Author: Staff Report    Filed Under: Opinion

A state program intended to help disabled veterans re-enter the work force saw its funding slashed by more than $500,000 because state officials fell short of a federal requirement to hire and retain vocational counselors.

Now let me get this straight, we are presently in two wars and the returning disabled men and women are not getting proper vocational support and training because the (ODJFS) Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, the Governor and his bureaucrats are not doing their jobs. By the way, this occurred after several months of warnings from the U.S Department of Labor that state officials were jeopardizing the grant by understaffing the program.

Terry L. Janke, former program administrator brought this critical need to the attention of the Governor’s Office that unfortunately was not acted upon. As a result the grant was reduced from 6.2 million to 5.7 million. Now I fully understand that our state is struggling economically but at the same time we cannot make those cuts on the backs of our disabled veterans and especially during this time of war.

I would like to know what distorted and self serving logic was used to arrive at this outrageous decision. Was there even one military veteran consulted within the administration before taking such short-sighted action? Was the Director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Affairs consulted? As a self proclaimed “friend of the veteran community” why isn’t Governor Strickland making absolutely certain veteran issues are addressed properly and on a timely basis? Governor, the disabled veterans don’t have the luxury of waiting around for the politicians to finally do their job. They desperately need and deserve to get on with their lives and with proper support from the government that sent them into harm’s way.

To add insult to injury, the Governors spokesperson tried to explain this decision away with typical mumbo jumbo that included a statement that went something like this, “While this is unfortunate and we have learned valuable lessons, we don’t believe we owe the veterans an apology” bla, bla, bla.

Governor Strickland, we are not looking for apologies since everyone realizes such apologies, from all politicians, have become a dime a dozen these days. I think it’s time to clarify the difference between pandering during election cycles and actually making tough decisions for the veterans when the heat is on.

I have contacted the Ohio Department of Veterans Affairs and the State Commanders of the Big 5 Veteran Organizations. This life changing matter for many disabled veterans should not be allowed to simply be played off with a press release. Ohio Veteran Organizations, it’s time for each of you to stand up and let your organizations be heard.

Danny D. Bare is the Executive Director of the Clermont County Veterans Commission and a Vietnam combat veteran.

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