When the veterans computer system was finally fixed, it became a numbers game. We used a program full of bugs called CVCS that was basically a telemarketing survey. The idea behind it was that the survey would help identify the needs of the veteran. Did they need help navigating the Veterans Administration? Did they need help finding a job, etc? But it quickly became a numbers game. The supervisor would often come storming into the office, waving a spreadsheet that showed we were not “producing.” It wasn’t whether veterans were actually being helped, but how many surveys you conducted. The program, full of bugs, would often erase any notes you generated about specific needs of the veteran. Despite this, despite the majority of the staff doing nothing most of the day, I worked very hard and helped many veterans find jobs and navigate the complexity of the Veterans Administration. At one point, I tried to blow the whistle on the bugs in the CVCS (among other things), seeing it was hurting the veterans we were hired to help, and was quickly fired—“laid off due to budget cuts” was the official word. I later found out that of the hundreds of staff throughout California in the Operation Welcome Home program, oddly I was the only one “laid off” due to budget cuts.
I ended up writing an exhaustive report about all the problems in the Operation Welcome Home program (click here for the report.) I sent it to various State of California and federal Veterans Administration whistleblowing officers. I received no response.
Veterans have been treated badly by the federal government for many years. And it probably won’t get any better any time soon. A step in the right direction, however, may be to get a President in the White House who doesn’t despise the military, veterans, and, most notably, the U.S. Constitution: the document that veterans bled and died to protect.
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