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By Anonymous Mike, pseudonymously.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008
You are Doing a Heck of a Job Brownie

I had been mulling a post about the incongruities about Governor Napolitano's public reputation and her actual performance in the areas of critical importance to the state such as the budget deficit, illegal immigration, and growth. Well when you mull too long news happens and you get overtaken by events.

Like last week.

Remember last year when investigators found cases of neglect and mismanagement at the Arizona State Veterans Home? Department of Veterans' Services director Patrick Chorpenning resigned and fines were levied against the home. Adding to the controversy was the fact that the Governor's co chief-of-staff at the time was immediately notified of the problem but he claimed that he neglected to inform the Governor until the day before the story broke.

Keep in mind that these cases came after the Washington Post ran a long and well-publicized set of stories about cases of neglect of wounded military personnel at Walter Reed, stories which led to a major scandal in Washington. You would think that if you were one of the staffers on the 9th Floor and you got a call at night from the Director of the state Department of Health Services
about an issue along the same lines as something that was echoing through the national press you would at least give your boss a head's up. Keep in mind this isn't the first time that the Governor has had staffers serve her poorly, remember Mario Diaz and Piestewa Peak?

Well all is well that ends well. When issues with the Home arose again late year, the cases involved were written off as common to many nursing facilities with any violations more along the lines of reporting than any problems with operations. The Republic reported health department officials as saying that unlike the inspection in February there were no problems that posed "immediate jeopardy" to residents' health.

So how do you explain this?

State Department of Health Services director Susan Gerard said licensing inspectors arrived at the Arizona State Veteran Home in Phoenix after hearing that a patient who couldn't care for himself was discharged, driven home and left to fend for himself.

The inspectors concluded that the case was so egregious that they would not leave the facility and declared its patients in immediate jeopardy, Gerard said Friday. That's the worst possible rating for a nursing home.

So let's review

Early last year, inspectors found the Veteran Home was putting their patients in jeopardy.

The Governor's top staffer was notified of the problem and despite the fact that its similarity to a current national scandal could lead to embarrassment of his boss, never bothers to notify her until the night before the news broke.

Chorpenning resigns, presumably under pressure, making him the presumptive scapegoat. I believe he is still suing on the grounds he was defamed

Chrpenning's replacement announces his retirement this month in order to take of his family. The Governor must have been pleased with his work because as her spokeswoman because as Jeanine L'Ecuyer states, "If she had her druthers, she would wish he would stay."

Less than two weeks after that statement from the Governor's office, state inspectors give the Veterans Home the worst possible rating a nursing home.

So at what stage did Governor Napolitano inherit ownership of the problem? When the scandal broke 15 months ago? When she hired Chorpenning's replacement? Was it when she stated he was doing such a fine job she wish she would stay?

Scandals in state government, of which she is the chief executive. Failure to be properly notified by her top staff. Failure to stay on top of the problems and ensure they are fixed. I am sorry where's the leadership?

Or is leadership just another word for finding someone else to blame?