Others, meanwhile, have taken issue with Stanley’s decision to build an expensive new conference room – whose price tag is estimated to be in the range of $360,000 to nearly $500,000 -- at a time when critical accounts, including programs for wounded warriors, have been cut. By one estimate, each chair in the new conference room cost about the annual salary of a lance corporal.
An August 3 complaint asserts that wounded-warrior accounts helped pay for both the McKinsey contract and the conference room. That complaint, which was sent to Congerss as well as to the IG from officials who work on wounded-warrior issues, says the money would have been better spent on the "Warrior Games," which is aimed at rebuilding injured troops’ self-esteem and confidence as they transition to civilian life. Funding for that program was slashed as part of a broader $11 million cut to wounded-warrior accounts.
“So these heroes really paid for the soft chairs and $30,000 of wall decor (and a lot more) so Dr. Stanley could hold his morning staff meetings in luxury,” according to the complaint.
Building the conference room is certainly not illegal. But one P&R official asserted in a July 13 complaint that it flies in the face of efforts within the Pentagon to cut unnecessary overhead. Stanley already had one conference room at his disposal in addition to other meeting rooms available throughout the Pentagon.
"The fact that this extravagance was clearly inconsistent with direction from the president and Secretary Gates to eliminate waste and efficiency was troubling to many," according to the July 13 complaint.
Officials interviewed for this story stressed that Stanley’s leadership has had repercussions across the force. Many pointed to the system used to evaluate wounded personnel’s disabilities as one of Stanley’s biggest leadership failures. Processing time has grown from 291 days in May 2010 to 404 days in June 2011 -- leaving wounded personnel in limbo for more than a year.
“This means that because of Dr. Stanley’s disruptive leadership and siphoning of funds for other purposes, a wounded warrior who lost a leg or his eyesight is now languishing in a Warrior Transition Unit this day for an additional 100 days!” officials wrote in the complaint filed earlier this month. “This fact pains us enormously.”