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New interim director named for St. Louis Veterans Home

New interim director named for St. Louis Veterans Home

St. Louis Veterans Home

An inactive cannon sits in the front entrance of the Missouri Veterans Home - St. Louis on Thursday, July 10, 2014, in Bellefontaine Neighbors. Photo by Huy Mach,

BELLEFONTAINE NEIGHBORS • An interim director was named Friday to oversee the St. Louis Veterans Home after the top administrator was placed on a 45-day leave earlier this month amid allegations of mistreatment of residents.

Stan Smith steps into the top job Jan. 2. He oversaw operations of all seven Missouri Veterans Homes before leaving state employment in 2014. He has 34 years of experience in nursing home administration.

Smith replaces Rolando Carter, who was placed on leave after Gov. Eric Greitens replaced five of the nine members of the Missouri Veterans Commission. The shakeup of membership also resulted in the resignation of the commission’s longtime executive director, Larry Kay.

Smith’s appointment was made Friday afternoon by Kay’s replacement, interim executive director Grace Link, who continues to review Carter’s employment status.

Link announced Smith’s appointment during a residents meeting, which included a question-and-answer session for veterans and their families. Link said she would regularly conduct meetings with residents so they can update her on concerns and to gauge progress.

Link, appointed Dec. 13, is on leave from her position as staff director for the Missouri Air National Guard.

At the meeting, Link said the Veterans Commission had hired a consulting firm to help develop a long-term recruitment, retention and training plan. She said two nurse consultants who also were licensed home administrators were being reassigned from the Missouri Veterans Commission central office to the St. Louis Veterans Home to provide additional leadership.

A plan also is in place to provide additional nursing staff to the home as soon as possible, she said.

“Our focus is on improving the quality of care, communication with veterans and their families and ensuring that our residents are treated with the dignity and respect they have earned,” Link said in a statement after the meeting.

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Doug Moore is a former reporter for the P-D. Currently, policy director for St. Louis County Council.

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