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Local veterans express displeasure over VA bonuses

By Dave Leval Photojournalist: Rachel McPherron - 9:09 PM July 4, 2014

“It’s ridiculous.”

Tammy Cartwright is not talking about Anchorage’s annual Fourth of July parade. The Navy veteran finds herself in another battle these days with her former boss. Cartwright served one tour in Iraq from 2005 to 2006. She has been waiting for treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“When you file a claim, any type of claim, you’re waiting anywhere from one, to two to three years to get anything back,” Cartwright said. “They’ll tell you it takes only six months.”

Cartwright is not happy to hear those who help make the decisions regarding her care are cashing in while she waits.

“I think they can do a lot better,” she said.

KTVA 11 News learned the number two person in charge of the local VA healthcare system received a $5,000 bonus last year on top of his $140,000 annual salary. The director received an extra $4,500 a year earlier.

A new congressional report reveals the VA awarded close to $400,000 in bonuses for 2013, excluding Anchorage. That money went to the 38 VA hospitals being investigated around the country. They involve deaths of vets and excessive delays in treatment.

“It’s a sad thing that never should have occurred,” said Navy veteran Martin Scheering.

Scheering spent 12 years in the Navy. He’s also not happy to hear about the VA bonuses.

“This is nothing new,” he said. “This happens in big corporate businesses as well, sadly to say. Greed has overrun our country today. I hope it turns around.”

The July 4 parade helps honor the veterans. They’re grateful for it, but what they really want is improved healthcare, not just seeing some of those overseeing it getting richer.

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