Vet Center investigation draws attention

Wednesday, August 27th 2008, 11:00 pm
By: News 9

By Colleen Chen, NEWS 9

NORMAN, Okla. -- In June 2008, officials launched an investigation into complaints surrounding the Norman Veteran's Center.

With the investigation over, some people now question if the investigation was complete and fair.

The investigators found the allegation Mike Simmons, a Vietnam Vet, made about having to lie in his own feces was true.

Sue Simmons, a family member, said she questions the action of the center's administrator, Bob Weeks. She and legislators called for a complete investigation of allegations like Mike Simmons' case.

"He's my blood. He's my brother," Sue Simmons said. "I know him better than anyone."

Rep. Al Lindley (D-District 93) said the investigation's focus was wrong.

"I thought the investigation was going to center on the performance of the administration, not the staff," Lindley said.

The randomly-selected 13 employees were given a standard set of questions. According to the results, none of them took issue with Weeks, but Lindley said he doesn't think the employees should have had to sign their names.

"When you have to identify yourself, you're not going to say anything that's going to be detrimental to your career," Lindley said.

Weeks said he hasn't been informed what the selected employees specifically said.

"The report speaks for itself, and I stand by it," Weeks said. "The investigators had 24/7 access to the facility during the investigation."

The staffing at the center was also under investigation.

"Everything goes right back to the fact, there's not enough staff," said Mark Beutler of the Oklahoma Public Employees Association.

While Beutler said he believes the report is accurate, Sue Simmons still disagrees.

Lindley said he's considering taking his concerns about the investigation to the Governor's office.

A representative from the Office of Veteran's Affairs said they believe the report was fair and impartial.