I rest my case. Remember, I too reached out to “Bob” last fall. I never did get to talk to him but I got his email and opted for that route. He pawned me off on Seattle’s DRO Cheryll-Anne Mackey-Rivas (note that’s a personal best-two hyphens) who graciously called me first before sending me a brand new SOC.
The smart money these days seems to be the Extraordinary Writ of Mandamus. Secretary Bob is required by law to answer those. Looks like I’ll be preparing yet another one to enforce the BVA decision for my greenhouse. I share this poignant vignette from VR&E’s residentura apologist at Seattle’s Famous Fort Fumble. He freely admits he’s no longer my “Counseling psychologist” or Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in VAspeak, but nevertheless has the the disagreeable task of being the go-between. Apparently, being a untermenschen, I am not allowed to communicate directly with the VR&E hierarchy.
In three days, (May 4th, 2016), we will mark eight months since my BVA grant. Seems like a propitious date to file anew:
Hi Gordon, I just wanted to drop you a line to give you an update on your IL events. Instead of finalizing the IILP for signature at this point, we are working with the GSA Contracting Division as required to find a contractor willing to take this case. The GSA contractor would be able to provide more construction details. I will keep you posted as I get the information from the GSA contractor. Thanks
Knowing that VA takes an inordinately long time to organize things, perhaps it might be better to have the GSA contracting division contact Famrtek’s IL coordinater, Karen Meister directly. She indicated to me that they could accomplish the whole project in short order (two months or less) from start to finish. They have experienced crews who do this exclusively for Farmtek nationwide on a fairly regular basis.
Karen’s contact information is : Karen Meister
800.327.6835 ext 1207, KMeister@Growerssupply.com
Not to put too fine a point on it but the delay is now approaching eight months (May 4th) since the Board Of Veterans Appeals grant. I do understand there are logistical considerations and additional oversight from VR&E VACO. Nevertheless, the delay is is becoming tantamount to noncompliance with the clear and unmistakable findings of Veterans Law Judge Vito Clemente’s ruling.
As you are probably aware, I filed an Extraordinary Writ of Mandamus ( CAVC 2015-0112) January 6th, 2015. VA promised the BVA would promptly adjudicate my ILP appeal. Having complied with the Writ, the grant now sits in limbo. I feel I have demonstrated that the alleged delay by the VA Secretary is so extraordinary, given the demands on, and resources of the Secretary , that it is equivalent to an arbitrary refusal to act. See Erspamer v. Derwinski (1 Vet. Appeals 3 1990). My one and only option here is to return to the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims and refile a new Writ to enforce the BVA’s decision. I prefer to avoid that if possible as it consumes scarce judicial resources better spent on other Veterans’ appeals.
Mr. Boyd’s reassurances that this was on track were sufficient to convince me that VA is bargaining in good faith. Building a greenhouse certainly is not comparable to constructing the Taj Mahal. According to the folks at Farmtek who do it every day, it’s a fairly simple undertaking. Please understand that I am impatient to get this project under way. Endless delays searching for a contractor is not a viable argument when Ms. Meister stands ready to fulfill the contract as soon as she is given the paperwork. Her bid price tendered last July is still viable and she guarantees she will honor the terms of that contract.
Please advise your intentions and/or time frame for completing the grant.
Gordon “Alex” Graham
O.K. thanks for the contact information, I will forward this information to David Boyd.
Fourth and long… punt to David Boyd. Boy howdy is this a hoot. “[T]rying to find a contractor willing to take this case”. My guess is a CAVC Judge would probably spray co-cola right out his/her nostrils reading that one. Of course, my fervent prayer would be to draw Saint Mary or Saint Meg. Brother Alan would be equally welcomed. If I draw Judge “Hang ’em High” Davis again, I’m going to suspect Greg Block has it in for me.
I can almost hear OGC Respondent Mark M. McNabb Esq. blowing bubbles…
“The Court must understand that this an atypical case and requires assets and resources normally unavailable to VA’s VR&E. Due to curtailing the ILP program now for the last two decades or so, VR&E essentially retired any personnel who actually are familiar with how to handle an ILP grant. Certainly the Court can see the enormity of the undertaking and the obstacles the Secretary faces. Seriously disabled Veterans are few and far between and Mr. Graham’s situation is an unforeseen anomaly. Most Veterans rated 290% are six feet under. As the Seattle VR&E Manager has pointed out, experienced GSA contractors are simply non-existent who are familiar with this concept. Surely you can appreciate our dilemma.
With the current brouhaha over the VAMC appointments
imbroglio er, misunderstanding, we have scant resources to devote to mundane avocational pursuits such as construction of Mr. Graham’s greenhouse. Surely you could grant us forty five days to get our shit together and formulate a functional post hoc rationalization that will pass muster. I’d like to point out it has only been eight months since the BVA grant-hardly an arbitrary refusal on the VA Secretary’s part to act. In the past, the Court has held that a delay of up to several years is not an arbitrary refusal to act but reflects the enormous workload of the Veterans Administration. Therefore we beg the Court’s indulgence to procrastinate. While we wish Mr. Graham the best, hopefully his recent congestive heart failure will be terminal and nip this entire Writ in the bud.”
Response to MS Frank. That would be a commonsense solution. Commonsense and VA????????
Maybe the problem is that there are 2 kinds of common sense: Human, and Genie. Has the human ever lived who didn’t get screwed big-time upon asking a Genie to grant a wish?
A “crisis,” arguably exists, at least for veterans left dangling by VA’s glacial clearance rate of the appeals backlog (& putting paid to Ask NOD’s Writ of Extraordinary Mandamus).
Q: Who’s the go-to guy for crisis settlement?
A: Indisputably, Kenneth Feinberg.
Congress: Will y’all *please* pass a law that takes VA’s sloth & inaction-generated**crisis* away from them, and turns over ajudication of all backlogged claims “of a certain age” to Feinberg? (A lot of us veterans waiting for resolution are *already* of a certain age, and so, at the current clearance rate, are unlikely ever to see a cent from VA. Who said crime, er, foot-dragging, doesn’t pay?)