Crouch: Governor’s Veto Continues to Neglect Veterans Home Board of Visitors Positions

May 3, 2018

Assemblyman Clifford W. Crouch (R-Bainbridge) voiced his concerns with Gov. Cuomo’s recent veto of a bill (A.8703-A) that would require vacancies on the state Veterans Home Board of Visitors to be filled in a timely fashion. This legislation allows interim members to be appointed by the current board in the event that a vacancy is not filled within 270 days.

In his veto memo, the governor said this legislation fails to make nominees meet the requirements of current law, yet it clearly states in the bill explanation that board may appoint an interim member who meets the requirements of current law. His second reasoning says that this legislation will not ensure board members are properly vetted, which is also a poor reason, un-vetted volunteers enter the homes at all times.

“There are numerous positions on the Veterans Home Board of Visitors that have not been filled since the governor took office in 2011,” said Crouch. “These positions have five-year terms, so many of the board members currently serving are doing so in a holdover capacity. The governor continues to ignore his job to appoint candidates to these crucial positions.”

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.

Crouch made note that he himself sent two people for consideration to the governor for open positions on the board. Both nominees were qualified veterans. The governor’s office has not sent him a response.

“It’s shameful that the governor would neglect to make these necessary appointments and then veto a bill that would clean up his mess,” said Crouch. “The governor is required by law to appoint people to the Veterans Board of Visitors. He has failed to appoint any. Unlike the governor, I refuse to turn my back on the men and women who fought so bravely for our country. I will continue to press him on this and will do all I can to ensure these positions are filled.”