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State Veterans Affairs Director fired

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Former Wisconsin Veteran Affairs Secretary John Scocos.
Former Wisconsin Veteran Affairs Secretary John Scocos.

MADISON (WRN) John Scocos, secretary of the state Department of Veterans Affairs, has been fired by the state Board of Veterans Affairs. In a contentious session with the Board of Veterans Affairs, Secretary John Scocos defended his record as head of the state’s veterans’ agency. “I’m responsible for everything that happens in this departent, if that’s what you want to hear,” Scocos told board members. “I believe that ultimatley whether I was here or not, I’m the secretary of this department. I take responsibility for what happens in this department.”

But members of seven member board voiced concerns over operations of the Veterans Home at King, which was the subject of an investigation by the state Department of Justice. “I guess my biggest problem with the DOJ report overall, has nothing to do with criminality, because there isn’t any. There’s no illegality at all in the report,” said board member David Boetcher of Waunakee. “But illegality doesn’t mean that things are being run properly. It doesn’t mean that things are being run well.”

Scocos said he was told by the board in a closed session that he could either resign or be fired, and he refused to resign. He said he plans to pursue legal action. Scocos was serving in Iraq when acting secretary Ken Black asked the Justice Department to investigate questionable expenditures, including a $250,000 fire truck purchased for the King home without legislative approval. As noted by Boetcher, the DOJ report found no criminal wrongdoing, but board members also said that Scocos had done a poor job communicating with them. Scocos has served as DVA Secretary since October of 2003.

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