ShareThis Page

Executive excess

| Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2010

Veterans Affairs executives in Pittsburgh are setting a standard -- for outrageous abuse of tax dollars that should assist wounded warriors.

Director Michael E. Moreland and his Veterans Integrated Service Network 4 colleagues oversee VA operations in Pennsylvania and parts of four neighboring states. Despite being leased at a cost more than 40 percent in excess of the average for prime Pittsburgh office space, their new digs in the Del Monte Building on the North Shore apparently weren't palatial enough -- so they spent nearly another $1 million to install their own customized fitness center.

It's public money, of course.

Meanwhile, the VA closed a swimming pool and athletic facilities used by disabled vets at the Highland Drive facility.

And what's worse is that the VA just doesn't get what's wrong with that picture -- defending this indefensible use of tax dollars by saying the lease "followed all applicable federal rules and regulations" and the fitness center was "necessary to create an efficient work environment."

Clearly, what should be the VA's top priority for its limited resources -- doing the most good for veterans -- isn't. That's a sad indictment of the agency and an insult to all who've worn a U.S. uniform.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.