The California National Guard has “lost its way, ethically and morally.”
That wasn’t said by some anti-military protestor. It was said by the California National Guard’s own commander, Adjutant Gen. David S. Baldwin.
He was quoted in The Sacramento Bee, which ran a series of articles on the Guard. The Tribune carried part of that series, including an article about San Miguel’s neighbor, Camp Roberts.
It said a portion of Camp Roberts is a ghost town of 658 condemned barracks and other buildings.
They are weather-beaten hulks with broken windows and collapsing walls.
Signs warn of asbestos, lead and hantavirus hazards. Hantavirus is found in dust from mice nests and droppings. It can kill you.
The National Guard says it lacks the money to demolish the 70-year-old buildings. The Bee said at least some of the Guard’s money went for improper payments to some of its members.
One Guard member who received questionable payments was California’s former adjutant general, Maj. Gen. William H. Wade II. He is now deputy chief of staff for NATO’s Joint Forces Command in Italy.
He was California’s adjutant general for 4½ years until February 2010. The Bee said records show he may have received $155,000 too much during that time.
You see, Guard members may also have federal duties, for which they collect federal pay.
State law allows them some double dipping. They may collect both state pay and federal pay for up to 30 days per year. The Bee said records show Gen. Wade averaged nearly one double-dipped week per month.
He also asserted that as adjutant general, he didn’t have to fill out time sheets because he was appointed by the governor. All previous adjutant generals had filled them out.
The Guard has an inspector general to investigate possible wrongdoing. But the inspector general reports to the adjutant general, who in this case would have been the man being investigated. Bill SB 921 is now pending in the state Senate and would have the inspector general report to the governor.
You may want to tell our legislators, Sen. Sam Blakeslee and Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian that you support this bill.
A Guard auditor has also accused 100 other Guard members of collecting $500,000 in various improper payments between 2006 and early 2010.
But this isn’t just a National Guard problem. All sorts of people cheat — on their income tax, school examinations and in other ways.
Ethics and morality now seem to be old-fashioned, square and inconvenient.
Reach Phil Dirkx at firstname.lastname@example.org or 238-2372.