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168 Days: Lessons Learned

By Ken Snyder

Because I found out that Areon Kelvington has left the Department of Labor for the Administration for Children and Families (hopefully he wants to do his job there) I decided another way to address getting better investigations done would be to contact his replacements.

Since I decided to keep this public (in order to affect change in how USERRA investigations are handled) I haven't been able to get traction on the top administration level (we didn't have a presidential appointee approved to the position of Assistant Secretary for the Veterans' Employment and Training Service until November of 2019) so my hope was this request for change could spread upward from the state level. Here is a copy of the e-mail I sent (copy here):

Dear Mr. Coney and Mr. Perkins:

At your convenience I would like to discuss my previous experience with a USERRA investigation your predecessor participated in for me in the hopes that it can be a "lessons learned" opportunity for you both.

To say it was unsatisfactory would be a gross understatement. It can be estimated that his unwillingness to perform an adequate investigation cost me, and most importantly my family, well over a half of a million dollars in lost wages and benefits. I was able to retain a private attorney and file a lawsuit, the bulk of our submissions came directly from the FOIA file of my case from DOL. Because I was not able to afford the fees required to continue the case I had to settle for the Offer of Judgement the defendants proposed, this was less than ten percent of my losses. Had Mr. Kelvington did even a marginal investigation it is possible that the case would have been found to have merit, and if the defendants had not been willing to offer a reasonable resolution it could have been forwarded to the DOJ where the costs I could not afford would have been borne by the government -- this could have made the outcome far better than what we received.

I have made it my goal to expose this in the hopes it will not happen in the future to other service members. Your participation in this could possibly keep this from happening in the future, and perhaps you could pass this information to others in VETS in the pursuit of justice for service members.

I have chronicled my story online, I have chosen not to include it in this e-mail so that the email itself would not get caught in spam filters. However, if you do a web search for "Ken Snyder 168 Days" it is one of the first (if not the first) return you will find.

Because I am with the 190th Air Refueling Wing in Topeka I am often near your offices; however, I would gladly take the time to come down to your office. I look forward to hearing back from you and forwarding the cause of improving USERRA investigations.

Thank you for your time,
Ken Snyder
TSgt, Kansas Air National Guard

Their response: nothing. It appears that, much like their predecessor Mr. Kelvington, addressing USERRA and inadequacies in the investigation process are something they would rather avoid. I gave them WELL OVER A YEAR to respond before posting this.

Obviously there is far more work to be done. I will not stop until it is done. Now that there is someone at the top of DOL-VETS I will reach out to Colonel John Lowry III (USMC, retired) with my story and see if we can get some progress on inproving the work DOL-VETS is tasked to do for service members.

Next: Last Ride
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The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.