Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri Veterans Chief Resigns under Pressure from Governor

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Missouri Veterans Chief Resigns under Pressure from Governor

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY * Two days after Gov. Eric Greitens dumped five members of a commission that oversees the state's seven veterans homes, his new appointees accepted the resignation of the longtime director of the agency.

Against the backdrop of concerns raised about conditions at the St. Louis Veterans Home in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Larry Kay stepped down from the post he's held at the Missouri Veterans Commission since 2008.

"We thanked him for his service in uniform and out of his uniform," said Tim Noonan, newly elected chairman of the Missouri Veterans Commission.

"Gen. Kay served his country honorably. He made a great decision tonight. He has decided to take a very honorable step," Noonan said.

The board accepted Kay's resignation at a closed meeting Wednesday night.

Greitens, a Republican under pressure to act after allegations of mistreatment of residents at the facility have raged for months, also said the new commissioners should remove the home's administrator, Rolando Carter.

Carter was placed Friday on a 45-day leave of absence, Noonan said.

"That's a step we took to protect Missouri veterans. There is clearly a question of confidence in leadership," Noonan said.

The commission hired Col. Grace Link of the Missouri Air National Guard as interim executive director of the Veterans Commission.

"Col. Link is a proven leader," Noonan said.

Complaints about the home had been piling up for months, but previous inspections and reviews had not confirmed any wrongdoing.

On Monday, Greitens released the results of a fourth inspection by an outside company that showed substandard care at the home "has caused, or is likely to cause serious injury, harm, impairment, or death to a resident."

The review found the home needed to update its policies for distributing psychotropic drugs and had failed to help keep veterans hydrated and clean.

On the same day, Greitens replaced five commissioners who had been appointed by then-Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat. …

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