Updated: 05/23/2013 1:02 PM KSTP.com By: Mark Albert
It's a promise made to our veterans that some vets believe is now being broken.
A program that helps former service members in Minnesota get jobs has been severely cut, while the same department is spending thousands of your tax dollars on travel, computers, and conferences.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reporter Mark Albert investigates whether the government is Retreating from a Promise.
-Click here to read the statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS from the Minn. Dept. of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), which oversees the federally-funded program. No one from DEED would agree to an interview for this story.
-Click here to read an unsolicited statement by the Minnesota National Guard forwarded to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS by a DEED spokesman.
-Click here to read a statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS from the U.S. Dept. of Labor, which funds the Veteran Employment Representative positions in Minnesota.
-Click here to learn more about the state's Veterans Employment Services.
-Click here to see the $5,561.60 in out-of-state travel since Jan. 1, 2012 by the director of Veterans Employment Programs, Jim Finley.
-Click here to see the $16,652.77 in out-of-state travel since Jan. 1, 2012 by Finley's supervisor, Bonnie Elsey. Sixty-six percent of the taxpayer-funded travel, records show, was for her volunteer work with the National Association of State Workforce Agencies.
-The number of Disabled Veteran Outreach Program (DVOP) specialists and Local Veteran Employment Representatives (LVER) in Minnesota who work to connect unemployed veterans to businesses that are hiring has dropped by nearly two-thirds in the past 15 years:
1998: 70.5 Veterans Staff (36.5 DVOP/ 34 LVER)
2001: 70.0 Veterans Staff (36 DVOP/ 34 LVER)
2002: 68.0 Veterans Staff (34 DVOP/ 34 LVER)
2003: 48.5 Veterans Staff (24 DVOP/ 24.5 LVER)
2004: 37.0 Veterans Staff (17 DVOP/ 20 LVER)
2013: 27.0 Veterans Staff (17 DVOP/ 10 LVER)
*5 temporary Veterans staff were let go in March 2013.
-Click here to see the list of current state and federal programs that serve veterans or their families, as provided by the Minn. Dept. of Employment and Economic Development.