Texas Veterans Commission vs. VA or – Why Is VA Hiding From You?

Why is VA ducking you?

Why is VA ducking you?

If you need to call or e-mail someone working for the Texas Veterans Commission, it really couldn’t be easier.  The Texas Veterans Commission offers Veterans a full employee directory.  By golly, it’s even updated for 2015.  The same is true for most other states, starting with Alabama and ending with Wyoming.

Now, let’s try our Federal Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  You know, the agency which is costing us $165B (as in “billion”) every year.  Apparently, VA is too poor to pay attention, because they can’t offer you an employee directory.  They can’t even offer you Regional Office directories.  Why is that?  It certainly isn’t illegal for VA to post civil-servant names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses.  Heck, the Department of Commerce lets you search by name or office and serves up employee e-mail and phone numbers, right from their website homepage.

Maybe VA prefers to provide contact information to third-party resellers, so you can pay extra to get publicly available information.  Or, maybe, VA is just plain old hiding from you…because they really don’t want to hear from you.

Based on the mishandling of claims, VA’s strategic plan may be to have you die before your claims are fully and fairly adjudicated.  Backlog solved and no bureaucrats got hurt!  In all seriousness, if you need to find a specific person in VA, it’s not easy.

Just for grins, we tried to find the names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of the senior VA staff with the Houston and Waco Regional Offices via a plain old Internet search.  Well, what did we discover?

  • You will develop excellent on-line search skills!  Where’s Waldo?  Can you find an up-to-date on-line VA staff directory?
  • You will find VA employees can defy the laws of physics and be in two places at once!  As of August 20, 2015, the Houston Regional Office (RO) site still lists Pritz Navaratnasingam as the Director.  But, what’s this?  Oh, the Seattle Regional Office also lists Mr. Navaratnasingam as its Director, noting he started work there in June.  That’s impressive efficiency on the part of someone who led the Houston RO through some dubious activities with your disability claims.
  • It’s a trick question.  There isn’t an on-line VA staff directory with individual contact information.

We did figure out that the “J” in “J.M. Hedge,” Assistant Director, Houston RO, stands for “James.”  And Wendy L. Torres, another Assistant Director with the Houston RO, might be phoned at (713) 383-1719.  Kelly Shupak is the Houston RO VR&E coordinator, while John Heil (Home Loan Guaranty) and Emile Dufrene (Veterans Service Center Manager) appear to round out the rest of the Houston RO senior management team.

Waco, Waco, Waco.  Well, John S. Limpose is the RO Director.  Darlene Jones and Jason Ware are Assistant Directors.  Pandi S. VanHouten is the Veterans Service Center Manager, and Gerald B. (“Jerry”) Bacon is the VR&E coordinator.

The general VA e-mail naming protocol is Firstname.Lastname@va.gov (as in John.Doe@VA.gov) However, VA is the largest civilian agency, with over 300,000 employees, meaning there often are several people with the same name.  And, unless you know “J” stands for “James,” initials only aren’t very helpful.

Why doesn’t VA provide employee directory information?  The answer is very simple.  They don’t want to hear from you.  Even in correspondence from VA, we’ve noticed they very rarely include any contact information.  With our contacts at AttorneyforVeterans.com, we can definitely be helpful to you.  But, wouldn’t it be better if VA just provided you with the contact information you’ve paid for?  We’re pushing for this minimum level of transparency.

If you have questions on VA contacts or other questions about VA benefits, contact The Law Office of Robert B. Goss, P.C. at:  https://www.attorneyforveterans.com/contact-us.html

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