The Board of Veterans’ Appeals, part of a vast benefits system working through the overwhelming backlog of veterans’ claims that tarred the reputation of the wider agency, hosts quarterly communication courses, a VA spokeswoman said.
Hansen, she said, “spoke both about his communication techniques as an investigative reporter, and about communication techniques in the workplace, emphasizing the importance of strong listening skills, respectful interaction, empathy, and compassion.”
We’re told by one person that Hansen told stories from “To Catch a Predator,” the news show that tricked adult men on the Internet into thinking they are meeting up with an underage girl, but then encountered Hansen…and the cops.
“He told a lot of anecdotes from ‘Predator’ … And how most of the time the subjects would shake his hand at the end, because he was tough but fair,” a person with information about the sessions said. “There was also an aside about how cool Reddit and Kickstarter are. Again, my co-workers and I are still confused about the connection to VA.”
We asked the VA how much it cost taxpayers to have Hansen come teach staff about “compassion.” (Hey, we could all use a primer.) Before we got a response, we’re told all the employees received an e-mail letting them know Hansen’s talk was done voluntarily.
“We hope everyone enjoyed yesterday’s quarterly communication training. For clarification, please note that no funds were paid to the speaker leading yesterday’s training,” Bruce Gipe, the appeals board’s principal deputy vice chairman e-mailed to the staff.
Well, that’s good. Though we’re still unsure what catching criminals has to do with helping veterans…