National Commander & Adjutant Conference

Hello DAV of Minnesota,

The first couple of months since the convention have been extraordinary. Adjutant Whitehead and I are literally returning from the Commanders and Adjutants (C & A) Conference as I write this note.  We met with the other Department Commanders and Adjutants along with the National Leadership.  It was an excellent opportunity to share about our programs and learn about theirs.  DAV of Minnesota is clearly a leader in the Nation in many areas including membership, clothing program, transportation and volunteerism.  The following are some tidbits of what we learned.

We had a productive meeting with National Adjutant Marc Burgess, Executive Director, National Headquarters Barry Jesinoski and National Inspector General Ed Hartman.  We discussed the status of our clothing collection program.  It appears we may have a new contract within the next 6 weeks not only ensuring financial stability for both the Department and Chapters but we also will be in compliance with any and all of Minnesota Attorney General previous concerns. The contract will be finalized at our next Executive Committee meeting and will be shared with the general membership soon after.

Chris Clay, DAV General Counsel, was a featured speaker at the C& A conference. He described 3 general rules which he asks each of us to follow.  “Use the bylaws” If you don’t know how to proceed in any given situation, pull out your copy of the bylaws. Don’t make up your own rules.  “Use common sense” If it doesn’t make sense to do something, don’t do it.   “Use neutral language” We have all sent something out in email being judgmental and soon as it was sent we realized we shouldn’t have sent it because we didn’t have all of the facts.  Communicate effectively with neutral language.

Gary Augustine gave us insight into the current financial dilemma the VA Medical system is experiencing.  He informed us in the past year there has been a 10% increase in the number of veterans using VA medical facilities with only a 2 1/2% increase in funding.  The VAMC’s are out of fee basis money and is now required to use the Choice card program. The problem is the Choice card program isn’t working.  There is $9 Billion dollars still tied up in the Choice card program and veterans can’t get appointments outside of the VAMC’s if that program doesn’t work. There are rumors indicating the VA is threatening to close some VA Medical facilities within the next 2 months if they can’t get this shortfall fixed.

Approval of fund raising events was another topic of interest.  It seems the guidance is very simple.  If you are going to hold a fund raising event you need to have it approved by Department if you are going to receive funds from nonmembers. So if you have an end of meeting raffle this event does not need preapproval.  If you expect other than DAV members to participate then you should get the event preapproved by Department.

Again, these first months have been extraordinary. DAV of Minnesota is busy! Participating in events to include the Department Convention, The Old Glory Run, the Wilds Golf Classic, C&A Conference, and key leader training has been a great experience. The leadership and membership across this great state of Minnesota is also extraordinary.  Every event is well organized and run, and of course focused on helping disabled veterans and their family members.

Thank you for what you do!
Greg Remus, State Commander