Executive Summary

Issue 1: The Veterans' Council Needs to Assume A Supervisory Role Over the West Virginia Division of Veterans' Affairs As Required By Law.

The Veterans' Council provides two general statutory functions under West Virginia Code §9A-1-4); these are:

Although the Council provides a forum for veterans to raise issues, it has assumed an advisory role to the Division of Veterans' Affairs instead of a supervisory role as required by law. The effect of this is that necessary corrective action to be taken by the Division is not implemented in a timely manner, is not based on a consensus of the members of the Council, and therefore may not serve the interests of veterans.

Recommendation 1:

The Veterans' Council should assume its supervisory role over the Division of Veterans' Affairs as required in WVC §9A-1-4, or if the Veterans' Council chooses not to exercise its supervisory authority then the Council should request that the Legislature amend its enabling statute to assign it an advisory role.

Issue 2: West Virginia's Division Of Veterans' Affairs Is One Of Only Eight States That Do Not Have A Website to Provide A Centralized Source Of Information To Its Veterans.

Currently, the Division of Veterans' Affairs does not have its own website to provide information of interest to West Virginia veterans. This makes West Virginia one of only eight states that do not have a website for their state's veterans. The lack of a website denies West Virginia veterans a centralized source of important information on veterans' benefits, veterans issues, programs for veterans, legislation affecting veterans, agency contact information, information on the Veterans' Home, and other helpful information that the Division can make available.

Recommendation 2:

The Veterans' Council needs to direct policy for the Division of Veterans' Affairs to plan the establishment of a website for state veterans.

Issue 3: The Veterans' Council Needs To Include The Secretary Of Military Affairs And Public Safety In Their Reporting Process.

West Virginia Code §9A-1-4 states that it shall be the duty and function of the Veterans' Council to make annual reports to the Governor respecting the service of the Division. This is the only requirement in code for the Veterans' Council on issuing reports.However, the organizational chart found in the Division's annual report places the Council under the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety.As the Secretary of the Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety is in the hierarchy of the organizational chart of the Veterans' Council, the Secretary should be included in any reports provided to the Governor as a matter of organizational sense. This will keep the Secretary informed on actions within the Division and the Council.

Recommendation 3:

In addition to its required reporting procedures, the Council should start reporting to the Secretary of the Department of Military Affairs & Public Safety.