JACKSON, LA (WAFB) - Two of the top officials at a Louisiana veterans' home, which has been the subject of reports by the 9News Investigators, are stepping down from their positions.
The Director of Administration Jon Salter and Director of Nursing Melissa Stewart at the Jackson Veterans Home in East Feliciana Parish handed in their resignations on Monday, Sept. 19, according to Dept. of Veterans Affairs Secretary Joey Strickland.
"I believe in honesty and I believe in transparency and I'm not going to put up with incompetency. I'm not going to put up with people hiding stuff," Strickland said.
Strickland said even though an Inspector General's investigation into allegations of missing records and a possible cover-up at the facility is still ongoing, he too started looking into several different aspects at the Jackson Veteran's home.
"There were things that popped up that we just were not pleased with. We started addressing those not only from the maintenance and physical appearance of the facility, but also with the way people were managed, the way people were treated, things like that," Strickland said.
Strickland said both Stewart and Salter were called in and given "very specific guidance over months" saying how the state expected things to operate.
With Salter, he said there were issues with how he ran the home. With Stewart, Strickland said there were issues involving improperly labeled medication and even her firing an employee who did not show up to work because her home flooded and her son had gotten in a serious wreck.
"We told them that we were very concerned and that we felt they had not followed the guidance from headquarters and at that point, they both elected to resign," Strickland said. "We never even talked about firing, but we were looking at options."
Stewart's resignation letter from Monday was a hand-written note saying she resigns from her position effective end of business Sept. 19.
The resignation letter from Salter said "[I] leave with the belief that our current facility in Jackson is in better financial and clinical position than when I started in 2010," despite Strickland saying they did not follow what the Department of Veterans Affairs wanted.
"I'm paid by the governor, the legislature and the people of this state to make sure that our veterans are taken care of," Strickland said. "Our veterans home is a place where people go to live, not die."
Meanwhile, Todd Price, the nursing supervisor before Stewart, has a court date of October 3. Price was fired after he was arrested and charged with malfeasance in office while at the home following a 9News investigation.