Perpetual Malfeasance and Excess at the Veterans Administration
You would think that if you were an administrator involved in running an institution which is the second largest public employer in the United States of America and the institution has been involved over the course of years in one deplorable and shameful scandal after another the last thing you would allow is the construction of palatial facility that runs a billion dollars over budget. Sadly, that’s not the case with the Veteran’s Administration where the one of the latest affronts to our sense of right is playing out at the facility under construction in Aurora, Colorado. The projected cost had initially been under a billion, but by the time the proposed opening takes place in 2018 (if it takes place), the cost will run as high as 2 billion.
No excess or luxury was spared, from 70 foot high vaulted corridors to the proposed use of costly imported Brazilian wood, not to mention an initial 10 million dollars for landscaping–now slashed to 2 million. Folks, that’s a lot of grass and shrubbery. The construction of this facility is yet another illustration of where priorities lay with the administration of the Veterans Administration and it ain’t the veterans themselves. At some future date, a new crop of smug and disinterested administrators will peer down from the remoteness of the ornate trappings of their respective offices as the endless stream of veterans outside wait for 2,3, 15, 20 years to get $200-$500 a month in benefits they earned on the battlefields of the world.
Seldom is anyone ever held accountable for the excess and the malfeasance and even when they are the punishment is akin to a slap on the wrist. After all, if you’re told that you can steal or waste a million dollars and all you’re gonna get is a couple years of probation what would you do? There are many who’ve risked far more for far less. And so things go at the VA, one deplorable insult after another, year after year.
Lavish features cut from over-budget Denver VA hospital
Imported Brazilian wood has been scratched from the budget-busting design for a veterans hospital under construction outside Denver, eliminated to save money.
A planned $10 million landscaping scheme has been slashed to $2 million, and subcontractors who find a way to reduce costs get to keep 30 percent of the savings, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, which took over management of the project after the cost nearly tripled.
Corps officials said Wednesday they’ve been looking for ways to save money since taking over construction management from the Veterans Affairs Department last year.
But Col. John Henderson, commander of the Corps’ Omaha, Nebraska, district — which includes Denver — said it’s too soon to know whether the builders can finish for less than the nearly $1.7 billion contract cost because some other expenses are rising.
Aurora VA official: No line-by-line account of where $1 billion went
<div)Coffman calls for criminal probe of Aurora VA hospital project