Veterans Angered By VA Executives’ Office Space

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The decisions about new administrative space for regional Veterans Administration executives and maintaining a pool at a local veterans’ center may involve different budgets and different decision makers.

But tell that to vets like Claude Maxwell.

“Well, I think their priorities are a little out of whack,” he said

That was his reaction to a Pittsburgh Tribune Review article tracing a million dollars’ worth of preparation for fourth floor office space at the Delmonte building on the North Shore between Heinz Field and PNC Park. It includes a shower room and gym for executives of the Veterans Integrated Service Network which represents five states.

It’s a bitter pill for vets who lobbied to keep a pool open at the vets’ Highland Drive facility. A few years ago KDKA-TV profiled Gulf War vets like Barry Walker who drove there regularly to use the pool’s therapeutic waters.

The pool closed last spring.

Maxwell, a Vietnam veteran, used that pool too.

“With the problems I do have, arthritis, and it sort of eases that problem for me. I would go up there five days a week, do my little workout, and when I came out that pool I felt real good,” he said.

“Well, my gut reaction is, ‘Why would they do something like this and take something away from the veterans that doesn’t even cost as much?’” he said.

The Veterans Administration offered only this statement:

“To accommodate the expanding clinical programs and patient workload at VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, the VISN office moved off of the medical center grounds.  This has allowed VA Pittsburgh to create additional treatment space for veterans.  A small fitness room was furnished to encourage employees to participate in a wellness program.  This program, which encourages employees to maintain a healthy lifestyle, fits with the Department of Veterans Affairs’ emphasis on preventive health care.”

The Veterans Administration also says the lease for the office space followed all applicable federal rules and regulations.

  • Dennis Baran

    Lets’ identify these lowend clowns and force them out. Those ones who serve themselves instead of us who honestly served must be identified and each and every veteran should file a formal complaint against each one of them. We fought for freedoms; use them. Make it mandatory to be a veteran to hold any high level position in the VA. And, let the politicians go to rot.

  • redrock100

    wimp liberal vets

  • Dennis Baran

    You go girl, place that label. That identifies you as one who has never served anyone but herself. Not honest enough to even use real name. I served 22 continuous years to allow you the afreedom to speak. Yet, only your parents were deficient in teaching you honesty and integrity.

  • Richard

    I work for the VA and find this to be such a waste of money! There are Vets out there that need help that aren’t even getting the full range of benefits they need.
    This is sad! The employees at our VA struggle to make ends meet, and live paycheck to paycheck, and have to pay it we want to use the weight room here that is provided to the Vets. Someone needs to smacked upside the head to wake them up!!

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