VA too busy being green to care for veterans

It seems that the Veterans Administration is busy being green. They even have a special office to manage their many programs: The Green Management Program Office at http://www.green.va.gov/.

And that office has several sub-departments, here are two:

http://www.green.va.gov/environment/
“The Green Management Program Office leads VA’s effort to keep our promises to Veterans through sustainability. We provide policy, guidance, training, outreach, and opportunities for national recognition in order to help VA’s workforce of more than 300,000 employees to be good stewards of the environment.”

I’m sure every veteran is worried about VA promises of sustainability, trouble is the VA is talking about environmental sustainability rather than the veteran’s sustainability.

http://www.green.va.gov/energy/
“VA has a goal to increase its renewable energy consumption to 20% by 2020.
VA has performed renewable energy studies to determine which facilities would be most ideal for investing in renewable energy technologies based on availability of renewable fuels, energy plant characteristics, and local utility rates.”

VA workers spend time vying for awards for being especially green. Take a look at the projects VA personnel are involved in – nothing to do with helping veterans: http://www.va.gov/greenroutine/

A short, but scathing editorial in the Washington Times “Strange priorities at the VA” notes:

“VA facilities have become littered with every scheme to banish carbon dioxide short of requiring visitors to hold their breath. Calverton National Cemetery spent $742,034 on solar panels. Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery spent $787,308. Not to be out-greened, the Riverside National Cemetery spent $1.3 million on its solar system. At the Phoenix VA Health Care System, where 20 Americans died from incompetence and cover-up, the department spent $20 million putting solar panels on the hospital roofs. That would have been more than enough money to provide the veterans with the health care they deserved.”

The Washington Free Beacon notes that the VA spends millions on advertising and “professional services.”

An analysis of records on the government’s official spending website shows the VA spent $1.3 billion in the past five years for “support” and “professional services.” These contracts included millions of dollars for a campaign to put the VA in a positive light, lodging and training of employees, and energy programs to make VA facilities more sustainable.

A total of 10,171 contracts were awarded under the “professional service” code as the number of VA Medical Centers under investigation for unprofessional services and misconduct has continued to rise in recent weeks.

Records show several contracts awarded for two commercials that were part of the VA’s “National Messaging Campaign.” In a series of 10 transactions, the VA awarded Woodpile Studios $5 million on 9/29/10, $1.7 million on 7/15/10, $1.7 million on 7/14/11 and another $1.8 million on 6/27/12 for the message campaign.

Strange priorities indeed. It seems that the whole VA bureaucracy exits for the benefit of the bureaucrats rather than for the veterans.

As Daniel J. Mitchell writes in a TownHall column:

“Nearly 80 percent of senior executives at the Department of Veterans Affairs got performance bonuses last year despite widespread treatment delays and preventable deaths at VA hospitals and clinics…The main thing to understand is bureaucrats respond to incentives. And when you have government programs with no bottom-line reason to deliver efficiency and good service, we shouldn’t be surprised that we get bloated payrolls and absurd compensation packages.”

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