Sunday, February 20, 2011

Massachusetts Governor plays politics with Veterans services office....turned it into a blatantly political operation to bolster his re-election....

This story should be no surprise to anyone who has observed the way that the liberal left has an absolute disdain for Veterans, especially the Democratic Party operatives. They have called us " War Mongers", " Baby Killers" and any other slur they can use to libel those who have worn the uniform and stood in defense of our country. This has been part of the Democratic DNA since the mid 60's when the party turned away from JFK's philosophy of a strong defense and went with the what the hippies and George McGovern spouted. Seems as they forgot that the only reason they were able to live free and spout off about the military was because Veterans paid for that right with their sacrifices and many times, with their lives.

Now, they have decided that the best way to use the Veterans is to take over the Veterans' services departments and turn it into another political machine to prop up the very people who show utter contempt for Veterans.

Case in point, Governor Deval " Spend-it-all" Patrick, who is Obama's best buddy fired the Massachusetts secretary of Veterans Services for four governors, Tom Kelly, Medal of Honor recipient and replaced him with his own political appointee.

Now, they are purging further into the staff and fired Tom Kelly's 2nd in charge while she was out on a medical leave. No reason for this change other than they can.

There will be a special place in Hell for these weasels when they have to answer for their sins. To take what is supposed to be a non-political program and use it as a prop to further your electability is beneath contempt. Deval Patrick and Obama never wore the uniform because they always saw service in the military as the kind of work that others had to was beneath them....But now when it is part of their political machine, they will be more than happy to try to "latch on" to the Veterans and tout how they have always admired them for their service.

Deval Patrick doesn't care for Veterans and neither does Obama. Veterans are political props for these two empty suits and the sooner we jettison these two fools back to where they came from, the better off we will be.

At Massachusetts Veterans Services, charges of playing politics
By Kevin Cullen
Globe Columnist / February 20, 2011

Maria Spiewakowski saw it coming.

“After Tom Kelley was fired,’’ she recalled, “I said, ‘I’m next.’ ’’

She was. Kelley, Massachusetts secretary of Veterans Services for four governors, was informed after Christmas that he was being replaced. The 71-year-old Kelley is a Medal of Honor recipient and his ousting was controversial, as much for the way it was handled as anything.

Spiewakowski worked in Veterans Services for 18 years, rising through the ranks to become Kelley’s No. 2. But when Coleman Nee was hired as undersecretary in 2007 on orders, Kelley says, from the governor’s office, she was suddenly No. 3.

Upset over the way Kelley was treated, and dealing with a medical problem of her own, Spiewakowski went on medical leave Jan. 18.

She got a Jan. 24 letter from Nee, Kelley’s replacement. “I know you’ve been away from work but I need to meet with you briefly to discuss my vision for Veterans Services,’’ Nee wrote.

Four days later there was another letter, saying she was fired.

“Incoming leadership has the authority to select its management team to carry out its policy goals,’’ Nee wrote. “This often necessitates the replacement of existing personnel. As a result, this action should not be construed in any way as a reflection on you personally or on your performance under prior leadership.’’

Spiewakowski’s removal was similar to Kelley’s. Kelley was asked by his boss, Health and Human Services Secretary JudyAnn Bigby, to show up for a meeting to talk about the department’s future.

When Kelley got there, the only thing about the future that was discussed was his not being part of it.

Governor Deval Patrick had every right to replace Kelley, just as Coleman Nee has the authority to replace Spiewakowski. The problem for both the governor and his new veterans secretary is that the people being replaced are not going softly into the night.

Spiewakowski and Kelley are saying publicly what had been whispered: that Nee turned the department that oversees the welfare of the state’s 400,000 veterans into a blatantly political operation to burnish the images of Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray.

Spiewakowski says employees were asked to volunteer for campaign efforts, and that Nee and some workers busied themselves with efforts to reelect the governor on department time.

Nee denies each and every one of the allegations.

Asked about firing someone on medical leave, he said he “can’t talk about personnel issues.’’ As for why Spiewakowski was fired, he said, “We’ve had some restructuring, some positions consolidated.’’

Asked if there is an ongoing purge of anyone perceived as a Kelley loyalist, Nee said, “That’s nonsense. I haven’t given any litmus test.’’

Spiewakowski says Nee put a political gloss on things that had been previously apolitical. For example, she said the department’s newsletter became a vehicle to emphasize the Patrick administration’s commitment to veterans as much as a way to inform veterans about services.

Kelley agrees, saying, “The newsletter had not been used like that before.’’

Nee scoffs at this. He said complaints that the newsletter was politicized are really bruised feelings about his efforts to modernize the department.

“Everything down here was using an old dynamic,’’ he said.

Spiewakowski and Kelley say Nee intervened when a contract employee was about to be fired for poor performance. They declare that Nee said Murray and the governor’s office wanted the employee kept on.

“That’s an absolute lie,’’ Nee said.

But Spiewakowski and Kelley say that episode hurt morale and made it clear that some workers had inside pull with the administration and would be treated differently.

Kelley says that in June 2009, Nee told him his main priority was to get the Patrick-Murray team reelected and to get veterans behind the effort. Kelley was so disturbed that he immediately wrote a memo about it.

“I never said that,’’ Nee told me.

Spiewakowski and Kelley say one employee complained that Nee had approached him in the workplace and asked him about lining up veterans to support the governor’s reelection campaign.

Nee said he didn’t recall approaching employees. Asked if doing so would be an ethical violation, Nee said, “I think it would. But I don’t think I’d do that.’’

Spiewakowski said she was going public because the department’s morale has been destroyed.

“I can respect the governor and lieutenant governor making the decision to replace Tom,’’ she said. “I can’t accept that Coleman Nee is the person to replace Tom, because he has completely politicized the office and its work.’’

Spiewakowski is not alone. Several others who worked or still work for Veterans Services have filed complaints against Nee with the Ethics Commission and the Office of Campaign and Political Finance.

Nee’s first battle in his new job is against an insurgency within his own staff.

He acknowledged he has heard from ethics and finance investigators, looking for records. But he is confident he did nothing wrong. “Anybody can make a complaint to OCPF or Ethics,’’ he said.

I asked Nee why some people are trying to destroy him.

“I don’t know what the motivations are, and frankly I don’t want to speculate,’’ he said. “But it’s always anonymous. If they are veterans and saying this, then they are heroes, and they should have some guts and come out of the shadows and say it to me. Say it to my face.’’

If the department of Veterans Services wasn’t politicized before, it sure is now.

Kevin Cullen is a Globe columnist. He can be reached at

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