WASHINGTON – Another major event has marked the Department of Veterans Affairs scandal, which arose over delayed care for veterans.
On Friday, May 30, Eric Shinseki handed in his formal resignation from his post as secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. This followed an internal audit of the department and a discussion with President Barack Obama.
In a speech which followed the acceptance of the resignation, Obama explained the decision was made by Shinseki because “he (Shinseki) doesn’t want to be a distraction.”
Said Shinseki in his farewell message, “My personal and professional commitment and my loyalty to Veterans, their families, and our survivors was the driving force behind that decision. That loyalty has never wavered, and it will never wane.”
Obama explained that Shinseki had already begun to address the issues at the VA facility in Phoenix – the place where the scandal started. Shinseki has fired the people responsible for the mismanagement, canceled all performance bonuses for executives and management, and placed an order for every veteran waiting for appointments to be contacted to ensure that they receive care.
While Obama explained that misconduct is not to be tolerated, he did remind the audience of Shinseki’s great history of service to the country.
“Eric Shinseki has served his country with honor for over 50 years,” said Obama and listed Shinseki’s two tours of combat in Vietnam, as well as other histories of service.
“Eric’s commitment to our veterans is unquestioned … I am grateful for this,” Obama said and applauded Shinseki’s ownership of the crisis. He then explained that Sloan Gibson will fill in for Shinseki as acting secretary until a long-term successor is found. Gibson has a decorated history of service to the U.S. and was previously the president and CEO of USO.