Crouch: While Governor Ignores Veterans, Legislature Picks Up Slack

January 29, 2018

Assemblyman Clifford W. Crouch (R-Bainbridge) announced today the passage of a bill that would require vacancies on the state Veterans Home Board of Visitors be filled in a timely fashion (A.8703). The bill aims to amend section 2631 of the Public Health Law by providing for the appointment of interim members by the current board in the event that a vacancy is not filled within 270 days.

This would fill vacancies that have been absent from the state’s Veterans Home Board of Visitors since the governor took office in 2011. Board of Visitors members serve five-year terms, so many members are now serving in a holdover capacity, while others have withdrawn their names form consideration after waiting for well over three years without any action from the governor.

“The fact that the governor has still failed to appoint members to the Board of Visitors is absolutely disgraceful,” said Crouch. “It’s a slap in the face to the men and women who fought for our country. The governor is required by law to appoint people to the Veterans Board of Visitors, it’s unfortunate that we have to pass legislation because he can’t follow the statute. I am very happy to be a co-sponsor on this bill and truly hope to see it pass the Senate in the coming weeks.”

Veterans Home Board of Visitors’ members play a crucial role in the operation of state-run veterans homes. Their duties include acting as ambassadors to the homes, monitoring the way the home is administered, recruiting residents through presentations to local veteran organizations, soliciting funds through contributions from veterans' organizations, participating in monthly Resident Council meetings, financing and arranging off site activities and they are present within the facility to receive feedback from staff and residents.

“This is a serious problem that needs to be addressed this session,” said Crouch. “Our veterans are losing services all over the state due to lack of staff and funding. This is becoming an all-too common problem. I strongly encourage the governor to take action now and do his job and appoint board members to these vacancies.”

A.8703 passed the Assembly and now has been referred to the Senate’s Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee.