Backlog of veteran files could cause collapse at Roanoke’s Poff Building

That’s heavy enough to cause a potential collapse. The engineer mentions the possibility of structural damage that would threaten the safety of the building and people inside.

“It’s just outrageous. We’ve got to deal with this backlog.“, says Rep. Tom Perriello. As a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Congressman Perriello demanded this inspection. “We’re certainly upping the inspections.“, says Perriello.

The Inspector General’s office told us on the phone they hope to get the VA regional office inspections on the same timetable as VA hospitals, every three years. A spokeswoman tells us this was not a surprise inspection, but was on very short notice.

The U.S. General Services Administration oversees the upkeep of federal properties including the Poff Building. When we called the administration’s Philadelphia Headquarters to ask for an interview about the structural risk found in Roanoke, we were referred to an office inside the Poff Building. When we called there, we were referred back to Philadelphia. Our request was eventually denied.

Roanoke office director William Nicholas responded to the Inspector General on December 30. Nicholas said 40 to 60 percent of the file cabinets would be moved from the Poff Building to an off-site storage facility, available in 60 days. The Inspector General spokeswoman says that’s likely 60 days from the date of his response. We do not know if that process is underway, as the VA did not return our calls for comment.

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