Veterans Advisory Board

Veterans Advisory Board

The NYC Veterans Advisory Board (VAB) was created by legislation and first assembled in 2002 to meet and advise the Mayor's Office of Veterans Affairs on matters concerning veterans in NYC. The NYC Veterans Alliance contributed to legislation in 2015 that reformed the VAB to increase the number and diversity of appointees, and also mandate reporting and public meetings in order for the VAB to be more accountable to the community. 

The first meeting of the newly reformed VAB was in April in Manhattan. The first meeting of the VAB with all new appointees was held in August in downtown Brooklyn, in which the VAB elected the officers who would serve in leadership positions for one-year terms. It remains to be seen whether the VAB will be a more truly representative and effective body for conveying the concerns of NYC veterans to MOVA. 

Below are the most recent posts, statements, and recommendations the NYC Veterans Alliance has made on this issue:


 

On February 7, Adrienne Brammer, OurVeterans Program Manager, testified on behalf of the NYC Veterans Alliance in response to the recommendation in the VAB's annual report for NYC government to establish an ongoing community calendar for the veterans community. Adrienne outlined the value and milestones of the community calendar that the NYC Veterans Alliance has created and maintained since August 2015, which is now at www.ourveterans.nyc.


On Wednesday, January 13, the NYC Veterans Alliance presented testimony before the NYC Council Veterans Committee on the performance of the Veterans Advisory Board since reform legislation was passed in February 2015:


Earlier this year, we were part of the push to reform the NYC Veterans Advisory Board in order to make it more truly representative of NYC veterans and also transparent, with published meeting announcements and minutes of meetings so that the NYC veterans community can understand what the VAB is doing on their behalf.

The nomination and appointment process remains opaque, but we have been encouraged that the VAB has been making progress in becoming the representative advisory board intended by the City Charter--until yesterday. Mid-afternoon on Monday, November 16, the Mayor's Office of Veterans Affairs announced that the next VAB meeting would be held in Queens--just a few hours following the announcement. This was absurdly short notice for anyone from our community to be able to attend.


In February 2015, following the start of this survey, the City Council passed legislation to reform the Veterans Advisory Board (VAB) by expanding the number of appointees, providing clearer guidance on the role of VAB members, and mandating greater transparency in the meetings and activities of the VAB. Shortly thereafter, the bills were signed as Local Laws 24 and 25,[1] and new members of the VAB were appointed by both the Mayor and the Speaker of the City Council.[2] Strong support by survey respondents for this initiative was noted at the time the bill was under consideration. A total of 80.68% of respondents indicated that they view this as either essential or very important.


Last night was the first NYC Veterans Advisory Board meeting ever open to the public. We applaud the important reforms that led to this meeting, and to the appointment of new VAB members. Previous members of the VAB were present, as well as new members. The meeting was chaired by the Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Veterans Affairs (MOVA), Loree Sutton.


If you can, please attend this evening’s meeting of the Veterans Advisory Board (VAB) at the NYC Family Justice Center at 80 Centre Street in Manhattan, Fifth Floor (Access to the building after 5pm is from 10 Hogan Place.). The meeting will begin as a closed session with previous appointees and those newly appointed, and the meeting opens its doors to the public at 6:30 pm.

Reform of the Veterans Advisory Board is something we pushed for with City Council, and we’re proud to have played a role in the


This morning Mayor de Blasio will release the names of the new appointees to the Veterans Advisory Board (VAB), a long-overdue measure following important reforms passed by the City Council and signed by Mayor de Blasio last month. While we are pleased to see fresh faces on the VAB--including our own NYC Veterans Alliance advisory board member, former Army combat medic and current student veteran advocate Samuel Innocent--we are disappointed that important veteran advocates from the NYC community are not represented among the appointees.


Success!! Yesterday the NYC Council passed three bills (Ints. 611, 619, & 600) that the NYC Veterans Alliance pushed for, discussed at length, and testified on earlier this month. This was a proud day for us, and we were invited to attend Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito's press conference on these important reforms. Council Members Ulrich, Eugene, and Vallone all spoke in detail on these bills that they helped to develop with community input, and Council Speaker Mark-Viverito introduced Kristen Rouse to speak as a veteran advocate who helped with pushing these bills toward their final passage yesterday.

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Kristen Rouse speaking at City Hall alongside Council Speaker Mark-Viverito and Council Members Ulrich, Eugene, and Vallone.

 


You've responded to the 2015 Survey of NYC Veterans Policy Priorities, and your voice has already been heard by public officials. Yesterday was the first-ever testimony of the NYC Veterans Alliance in a City Council hearing, and we were definitely heard.

 


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