Veterans wonder about silence of Gov. Deval Patrick administration on Holyoke Soldier | MassCops

Veterans wonder about silence of Gov. Deval Patrick administration on Holyoke Soldier

Discussion in 'Military News' started by LGriffin, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. LGriffin

    LGriffin Always Watching

    Local veterans said that because the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home is an important part of their lives, they want to know the background and plans of the man recommended to be the facility’s new superintendent.

    That’s why they said Friday they are puzzled that state officials have refused to identify the man who has been the recommended choice for superintendent since November.

    “I believe, yes, that people are entitled to know who the person is, all the veterans of Western Massachusetts should know who this person is, what his background is, what his plans are,” said Cesar A. Lopez, a retired Marine and member of the city War Memorial Commission.

    “Of course, it’s a concern because, number one, we want to be sure that it’s a veteran and they’ve established that. It’s of interest, but it’s nothing we have any input in, so there’s nothing we can do,” said James B.J. Hoar, an official with the United Veterans of Holyoke.

    Steven E. Como, of Pittsfield, chairman of the board of trustees of the Soldiers’ Home, has identified the candidate only as a man from Western Massachusetts who is a veteran.

    The board recommended the man for the job in early November to the administration of Gov. Deval L. Patrick, Como said.

    The candidate is undergoing a background check and officials do not want to release the person’s name while that is being done, said Jennifer Kritz, spokeswoman for the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

    Officials have declined to provide the name of the candidate or the other two finalists considered from a field of 40 applicants for the job.

    The job’s yearly salary will be $57,000 to nearly $133,000, Como has said.

    Paul A. Morin, the former superintendent, resigned in 2009 in return for the state attorney general’s office dropping charges he violated the Clean Air Act in ordering removal of asbestos in a 2007 renovation at the Soldiers Home. Morin was paid $114,345 a year.

    Deputy superintendent Michael J. Pasterczyk has been acting superintendent since December 2008.

    The Soldiers’ Home, located on Cherry Street, has 356 employees and a yearly budget of $19.4 million.

    The home opened in 1952 and provides residential beds and outpatient clinic services including optometry, ear, nose and throat and social services. The clinic treats 2,200 veterans a year, officials said.

    “It’s just a vital service to have,” Hoar said.

    If local veterans are upset with Patrick, it’s familiar territory for them. In 2009, Patrick angered veterans and their supporters by cutting nearly $900,000 that would have forced the closing of the outpatient clinic at the Soldiers’ Home to deal with a state budget shortfall.

    After protests here and on Beacon Hill, Patrick restored the money a few months later.

    Employees at the Soldiers’ Home are among those eager to know the identify of the man who could be the next superintendent, said Carol Konrad, of Southampton, a registered nurse at the Home for 26 years.

    “We would love to know....You really want to have a health-care administrator, not a political person, to put it plainly,” Konrad said.

    “I’ve speculated and I can’t think of why they’re trying to keep this a deep, dark secret,” said Deborah A. Malek, the city’s veterans services director.
    Veterans wonder about silence of Gov. Deval Patrick administration on Holyoke Soldiers' Home superintendent |

    If it's a Deville appointee, i'll bet it's just another one of his hack friends who has never set a boot in sand. Maybe it's his buddy from the Parole Board...

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