For those of you who don’t know what a Veterans Service Commission is, this job probably isn’t for you. The State of Ohio has one in every county- and it serves as a point of contact to deliver immediate assistance to veterans in need, helping them with housing, benefits, medical transport, and a host of other things. Money is set aside from the State to fund VSC’s based on population.
Montgomery County has played games with it’s VSC for decades, including the choice of board members, and the repatriating funds meant for veterans to the general fund. Even the lease of the office space in the old St. E’s is a political football.
This organization is ripe for fresh, enthusiastic, visionary new leadership, so if you have a love for veterans, are one yourself, and believe you can fight the county to allow you to do your job properly, please apply.
This organization could and should be a lot more active in our community- and serve a much larger number of veterans than it has in the past.
If Nan Whaley thinks the reason she’s unopposed is because she’s doing such a good job, she’s as delusional as DPS Superintendent Rhonda Corr and the Dayton Public Schools Board of Education. If any of them had any sense, they’d do what Wilburt Shanklin did- resign. Shanklin was the embattled nominee to the Montgomery County Veterans Service Commission who was appointed by the County Judges illegally, since he was already sitting on a county appointed board.
The reason Nan is unopposed is partially because no one wants to run against a candidate with $140K in the bank, and a record of spending half a million to run for a job that pays $47K a year. The other reason is that the petition process is so flawed, it should be illegal to use the city prescribed petitions. I’ve written extensively about these bad petitions- with their non-required “Ward and Precinct” boxes- and the requirements for notarization, but the main question is since when was graphology a requirement for working at the BOE? To say you can’t recognize signatures – when collected via a clipboard- is just one way that the partisan Board of (S)Elections keeps people off the ballot. Any process that generates a minimum 20% failure rate by even the most careful candidates- should be re-evaluated.
If my father hadn’t died, it my mother didn’t have dementia and I was the sole caregiver, you can bet your last nickle that I would have run. Although, they’ve often found reasons to disqualify my petitions at huge cost to the voters in the past.
That there is no primary gives the commission challengers more time to do the work and to raise the money. Hopefully, the voters will realize that with no chance of replacing Nan- maybe it’s time to add some people who do more than dress well and say yes to her highness on command.
The Veterans Service Commission position will be filled by the judges within 60 days. I’m a member of both the American Legion and the Disabled Veterans of America. I’m requesting my name to be on the list- or will be submitting my name on my own. I believe there is lots of room for improvement to the VSC- including doing what the law requires- immediate aid, when necessary. Shanklin probably resigned because it was becoming apparent that he wasn’t going to survive the court scrutiny. Mark one up for Mat Heck’s Montgomery County Prosecutors office. They actually acted on public bodies breaking the law.
Which is the lead in for the shit show at the Board of Education which I’ve been covering extensively since the Board decided to replace Lori Ward and Craig Jones with, well, there may not be words….
The board hadn’t heard from Ohlmann- who wasn’t entirely sure the District had committed to them. The solution? Create more stupid board lead task forces to tell the “experts” they hired- how to fix the problems the board keeps creating. We went to one today and filmed. Dr. Baguirov thinks he’s an expert at web design and usability now – and even suggested using Flash on the site. He showed off charter school sites- and their emphasis on enrollment on the front page- and thinks the district needs to build enrollment landing pages. Wow, this is some comprehensive strategy in the works. The people from the Ohlmann group sat there and nodded- and said the board needs storytellers. Working with a camera on them didn’t make them too happy. We’ll post that session tomorrow- right here. (posted 6pm Mar 9, 2017)
Never mind that Ohlmann was the highest bidder by $50K and over the stated limit the district announced. If this had been a construction contract, it would be void for exceeding the estimate by 10%, but, surprisingly, there is very little real law in Ohio on how to conduct competitive bids by school boards.
We’re starting to think the real value to our agency is to do a reality webshow on Disaster Districts, sort of like Kitchen Nightmares or Restaurant Impossible. The board should welcome this, since we’ve seen where reality TV stars end up these days.
Two things to think about from this post: This blog lead the way on calling out Shanklin’s appointment to the VSC and he’s gone. And, after me chastising the board for not taping all their meetings and not using a PA to help Board Member Sheila Taylor hear- they started to tape the off week meeting in the room of the square table- and using microphones for about 60% of the time.
Progress. It comes slowly in Dayton Ohio.
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Attached is a copy of an original action in quo warranto and an affidavit in support that were filed today with the Second District Court of Appeals relating to the appointment of Wilburt Shanklin to the VSC, by Anne Jagielski,, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney, Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office. Shanklin Quo Warranto
Quo Warranto means: A legal proceeding during which an individual’s right to hold an office or governmental privilege is challenged.
From the filing:
21. The DAV Chapter 9 believes the nomination of Mr. Shankin was improper because he was not nominated and voted on by the members of DAV Chapter 9. Instead the DAV Chapter 9 believe they were compelled by the Court to submit a nomination for someone they did not and do not want representing them on the VSC. But for feeling forced by the Court, Mr. Weeks would not have submitted Mr. Shanklin’s name for nomination. Therefore, Mr. Shanklin’s name should never have been considered by the Court for a seat on the VSC.
You read about this story here first: Politics interfering with the Montgomery County Veterans Service Commission
and then here: Judges break law with Shanklin appointment to Veterans Service Commission
I requested help from State Representatives Jim Butler and Rick Perales on this issue, both being veterans and local. The original claim out of the prosecutors office was that the other board that Shanklin sat on, wasn’t a county board, but a state board, so it didn’t disqualify him, even though he was appointed by the very same judges. This issue wasn’t mentioned in the filing.
We will have to wait for a ruling from the Second District Court for final disposition. Shanklin was supposed to begin his term on January 15th. 2017.
Veterans service commission.In each county there shall be a commission known as “the veterans service commission.” Except as provided in section 5901.021 of the Revised Code, the commission shall be composed of five residents of the county appointed to five-year terms by a judge of the court of common pleas. At the time of appointment or reappointment to the commission, no commission member appointed under this section shall be an employee of the commission or hold an elective or other appointive office of the county served by the commission.
Maybe we should refresh the judges memory, since they previously appointed Shanklin to the board of Greater Dayton Premier Management, with his term expiring 5/31/2018 as shown in this City of Dayton document.
Considering the judges broke the law, the question is, who is going to set this straight? Will the County Prosecutor Mat Heck file charges against seven judges? Will the Veterans Service Commission have to waste time and money filing suit? Should the DAV have to spend money to overturn this travesty?
Considering they already swore Shanklin in a month early to the VSC, while he was still officially on the GDPM board, their action should just be negated.
As if this isn’t bad enough, word is circulating that Huffman has also decided to “rotate” judges out of specialized courts- removing Judge Dennis Adkins (no relation) from presiding over the Veterans treatment court which he founded and has successfully lead for 3 years now. Veterans advocate Elaine Herrick, who has been one of the driving forces behind the Veterans Court along with Ret. General Charles Metcalf has vowed to work to find a challenger to Huffman in her next race and make sure she loses. Both Herrick and Huffman are republicans btw.
What has brought Huffman to think that she should be the deciding voice in veterans issues in Montgomery County is a mystery. Generally, going against veterans support organizations and systems is about as un-American as putting kimchi on your burger. Does she just have it in for anyone named Adkins? Is this a new psychiatric illness: Adkinsphobia?
If Huffman was so concerned with following the letter of the law in appointments to the VSC, the question still remains as to how Tommy Adkins was placed on the commission a year ago- since the DAV only submitted one name that time.
It’s time to stop playing games with the Montgomery County Veterans commission and the Veterans Treatment court. The question is which Montgomery County politician (I know you all read this blog) is going to step up and demand that the court stop meddling where it isn’t supposed to.
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.
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.