A slashed budget isn’t the only tension rising among veterans as members of the Veterans Commission have expressed a lack of confidence in Veterans Affairs Director Fred Bordallo’s ability to head the department.
Some have even called for Bordallo’s resignation.
“Well, first of all, I’m disappointed that that’s the kind of conversations they are having at the Veterans Commission,” Bordallo said.
He said the idea for the Veterans Commission came from the late Sen. Tony Unpingco who envisioned a commission that would be an advisory body to the Veterans Affairs director. But with the current commission membership in shambles and veterans not being allowed to join unless they are part of a veterans-affiliated non-profit organization, Bordallo is questioning who makes up the rules and why doors are being closed on veterans.
“Let’s get away from these parochial conversations of bashing not only me but my predecessors. Every director that I talked to when I did my transition from Jose San Agustin to Martin Manglona and John Unpingco … I’ll tell you they said, and Unpingco put it on record with Governor Calvo, that the Veterans Commission hadn’t met in two years. At that last meeting in Adelup, even the current elected chairman, Brian Miranda, said he was only going to give four months and then if it doesn’t work out, he’ll be out of there. Now that doesn’t sound like commitment,” Bordallo said.
He added: “And I will tell you this … the current commission … Mr. Brian Miranda John Atulai Taitano and Barry Mead … they don’t speak on behalf of the 10,000 veterans that are here who say that they don’t represent them.”
This isn’t the first time the VA Commission raised concerns over the current leadership of Veterans Affairs. Mead, during the last commission meeting, stated: “I am not a believer of turning this over to a person who has no clue about veterans or anything else that we go through with the VA or anything else … and I mean the governor.”
Mead added: “Our current director is a veteran who doesn’t have any idea of how to deal with the VA.”
Then, during last week on K57’s Vet Talk, VA commission members phoned in, calling for Bordallo’s resignation. Bordallo, however, finds it ironic that the commission members stated they didn’t want the governor to be involved, fearing that the commission may be politicized.
“Now who is doing the politicking here? Stick to what your supposed to do — give the director some advice but don’t use this as a bashing forum. This is the reason why the commission can’t make quorum because veterans organizations are turned off and they don’t want to join,” Bordallo said.
Tomorrow, we reach out to the VA Commission officials and members for their reaction.