Governor ignored HB 418 when appointing director

Tuesday , March 18, 2014 - 4:58 PM

Jim Kopecky


The governor’s office has appointed a new executive director, Utah Department of Veterans Affairs, without obeying House Bill 418, Section 71-8-2 (2) which states, "The governor shall appoint an executive director for the department, subject to Senate confirmation, from a list of qualified veterans provided by the Veterans’ Advisory Council. Any veteran or veteran’s group may submit names to the council for consideration."

The potential opening is advertised by the state’s HR office for applications, the state council interviews all applicants, and recommends to the governor three name to choose from. None of these procedures were followed.

I realize the governor might have overlooked the law, but surely someone in his staff knows the law. This office is under budgeted and the deputy director is being paid from a grant that ends April 30 of this year.

Money needs to be allocated for this salary from the state and not from a grant. The director has submitted his resignation that ends July 30, so no one will be in these two positions that has knowledge to do these jobs.

I remember when this office only had a director and a secretary and I don’t want to see this regress back to that again. The director and deputy director, along with all of the veterans organizations helped get funding from the state to serve 80,000-plus veterans in the state. Both the director and deputy director wrote grants for the veterans nursing home in Ogden which was completed and fully occupied.

There are two more veterans nursing homes down south which these two individuals wrote grants that are under construction and will be completed this fall. They will be fully occupied within the time frame specified in the grant. It is a shame that the primary individuals responsible for writing these grants will not be in their current positions to received credit for what they have accomplished. I wonder if the state attorney general has looked into this matter?

Jim Kopecky

West Point

Sign up for e-mail news updates.