Politics interfering with the Montgomery County Veterans Service Commission
If it weren’t for Ashley Webb, the Montgomery County Veterans Service Commission would have 11 members, all receiving about $10K a year for 2 meetings a month. The reason we had an extra 6 straphangers was because the Montgomery County Commission wanted to stop the VSC from buying their own office space with money that’s handed them by the taxpayers for veterans services.
Needless to say, the building idea was stupid, the solution more stupid, and the VSC in general, is an embarrassment- often returning half their budget to the county general fund because they couldn’t “find enough veterans in need.” The reality is, you need an advocate to get help from these “advocates” as I pointed out in an earlier post about my personal experience trying to help a homeless vet get back on his feet. The reality is, the VSC spends more on their overhead than they hand out- overpaying their director, their staff and their gatekeepers- while putting veterans through the ringer just to get $500.
If you need evidence on how misguided this commission is- watch this clip from our meeting: listen carefully at the 2 minute mark where Mr. Istvan says “we earned that” to the roof over his head.
It took every bone in my body to restrain me from not jumping over the table and decking him.
The anger stopped me from writing about it- or promoting this disgusting display of contempt from an impotent little martinet.
Which brings us to the actions of Judge Mary Katherine Huffman and other judges in appointing a new member to this board.
Note, when I applied to be placed on it- I wasn’t interviewed, just sent a rejection letter. I’ve been working on veterans issues heavily in this community since 2004.
They appointed Tommy Adkins to fill the vacated seat, as an appointee of the Disabled American Veterans, and I have to say, he’s an awesome addition to this board, with a ton of experience guiding veterans through the complex system. Watch as he deftly responds after Istvan digs his proverbial grave in the video.
When the full term was to be awarded, Adkins was the choice of the DAV commanders. Adkins has been active in the local chapter for a long time, and is eminently qualified to the job- as well as being the incumbent. It’s Istvan that should be replaced yesterday.
This is where the politics come in. The law is that the service organizations must submit three candidates for evaluation by a certain date. When the DAV told the judges we want Adkins, they said submit two other names- which the DAV did. Then the judges decided to interview them (something they never did with me when I put my name in) and determined one of the candidates didn’t really want the job (because he believed Adkins to be the best choice) they reopened the process and demanded another candidate.
In the mean time, one of the former political appointees who lost his job when the commission was shrunk to legal size- Danny Hamilton, apparently suggested that Reverend Wilburt Shanklin should apply. Shanklin went out to the VA, paid the $400 lifetime membership fee, asked “how do I get on the VSC” and basically demanded to be put on the board- despite not having any experience or knowledge of the process- or being involved in veterans issues previously.
Shanklin has been closely tied to the disgraced Rev. Raleigh Trammel and the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance for years as well as being a friend of Rhine McLin. He was also caught up in the hanky panky at the Greater Dayton Premier Management organization – formerly known as DMHA- where he was board president when some people were getting grossly overpaid.
His wife was a long term employee in city hall as well- with close ties to the Monarchy of Montgomery County.
Never once have I heard him talk about veterans issues, seen him at any event focused on helping vets, or even realized he was a vet.
The judges got sold some story that poor Wilburt had somehow got shut out of the process – and that he shouldn’t be considered. I got shut out too- when I realized I didn’t have near the experience that Mr. Adkins did, but considering I’d put an application in before- I didn’t get notified of an opportunity to reapply- nor would I have if it was to replace Adkins- which is what Judge Huffman did today- appointing Shanklin to the board and dismissing Mr. Adkins.
There will be a meeting at 9am tomorrow at the VSC- and I plan on attending. The arrogance of the judges in overruling the recommendations of the DAV is appalling.
This seems like punitive payback to Webb getting rid of an additional 6 patronage jobs for the Monarchy to hand out to their friends and family.
There will be more to come.
If you want to read the 25 page collection of documents on this botched process, they are here: MCVSC Shanklin Travesty
20 Dec, 10:27 am- After the MCVSC meeting this morning, before they went into executive session- and after I had shared my experience in applying for the MCVSC seat- Mr. Tom Istvan came and apologized to me for his treatment of me at the last meeting I attended. He said that when he first met me he didn’t like me (which happens- people either like me or hate me for the most part)- but, after he’d talked to some people, he realized it was his own issues more than me that caused him to dislike me. He hadn’t read this post yet. Also, Mr. Adkins informed me that the last time he had been appointed, the judges were only given one choice by the DAV- him- and they hadn’t had an issue. Channel 7 was there at the beginning of the meeting filming.
Give ’em hell, David.
Here is the video of the morning special meeting.
I don’t expect this appointment to stand. Thanks for writing this story. You’re coverage is more accurate than the DDN (no surprise there).
[…] Maybe when you read about this in the Dayton Daily news next week, they may give credit to who broke this story for them. Hah. Yesterday, there was a front page article about the Veterans Service Commission appointment– a full 6 days after I wrote about it and gave you all the documentation. […]
[…] In their rush to appoint Wilburt Shanklin to the Montgomery County Veterans Service Commission over the DAV recommended incumbent Tommy Adkins, the 7 judges who signed off on the appointment under the direction of Judge Mary Katherine Huffman, broke the law: […]