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Shinseki resigns amid health care uproar

By Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 08:42 a.m. HST, May 30, 2014


WASHINGTON >> Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki apologized in public and then resigned in the privacy of the White House on Friday, driven from office by a mushrooming scandal over the agency's health care system that serves millions of the nation's former warriors.

President Barack Obama said he accepted the resignation "with considerable regret," and appointed Sloan Gibson, the agency's No. 2 official, as temporary secretary. Obama also said that the Justice Department would determine if any illegality had occurred, and that a top White House aide who has been detailed to the Veterans Affairs Department would remain there for the time being,

As for Shinseki, Obama said, "I regret that he has to resign under these circumstances." He lavished praise on the Vietnam veteran and former Army chief of staff for his decades of service. He said the Cabinet officer had told him "he does not want to be a distraction" from the need to repair the agency, a task the president said pointedly could well require Congress to approve additional money.

A lifetime of service, in uniform and out, wasn't enough to save Shinseki's career, though, after agency investigators reported widespread problems in its sprawling hospital system. They reported that 1,700 veterans seeking treatment at the Phoenix facility alone were consigned to limbo because they had never been added to official wait lists.

In the 36 hours that followed the findings on Wednesday, Democrats in tough re-election races joined Republicans in clamoring for Shinseki's resignation.

In an appearance before a veterans group before he met with Obama, Shinseki said, "I extend an apology to the people whom I care most deeply about -- that's the veterans of this great country -- to their families and loved ones, who I have been honored to serve for over five years now. It's the calling of a lifetime."

He called the problems outlined in the midweek report "totally unacceptable" and a "breach of trust" that he found indefensible. He announced he would take a series of steps to respond, including ousting senior officials at the troubled Phoenix health care facility.

He concurred with the report's conclusion that the problems extended throughout the VA's 1,700 health care facilities nationwide, and he said that "I was too trusting of some" in the VA system.

Obama said Shinseki told him the agency needs new leadership and that he didn't want to be a distraction. "I agree. We don't have time for distractions. We need to fix the problem."

As his last act as a Cabinet official, Shinseki submitted a preliminary audit, which concluded that some VA schedulers were pressured to make waiting times for medical appointments appear shorter than they actually were.

The review said the agency would revoke a 14-day standard as a goal in performance reviews, and also suspend bonuses for this budget year.

Republicans in Congress said Shinseki's resignation alone wasn't enough to solve problems at an agency that has been struggling to keep up with a huge increase in demand for its services. About 9 million veterans are now enrolled in the health care system, roughly 1 million more than only six years ago. The influx comes from returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, aging Vietnam War vets who now have more health problems, a move by Congress to expand the number of those eligible for care and the migration of veterans to the VA during the last recession after they lost their jobs.

And Shinseki's departure seemed unlikely to end an election-year political struggle between the parties.

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the resignation "does not absolve the president of his responsibility to step in and make things right for our veterans." He and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell called on Democrats to join them in legislation "that would help to fix this system that has so failed our veterans."

The Republican-controlled House passed one measure recently to give the VA more ability to fire up to 450 senior executives. The Democratic-controlled Senate is likely to debate a different version in the following week.

Gibson, the president's choice to take over the agency at least temporarily, has held the No. 2 post since February. He was formerly president and chief executive officer of the USO, the nonprofit organization that provides programs and services to U.S. troops and their families. Gibson is the son of an Army Air Corpsman who served in World War II and grandson of a World War I Army infantryman.

The VA has a goal of trying to give patients appointments within 14 days of when they first seek care. Treatment delays -- and irregularities in recording patient waiting times -- have been documented in numerous reports from government and outside organizations for years and have been well-known to VA officials, members of Congress and veterans service organizations.

But the controversy now swirling around the VA stems from allegations that employees were keeping a secret waiting list at the Phoenix hospital -- and suggestions that up to 40 patients may have died while awaiting care. A preliminary VA inspector general probe into the allegations found systemic falsification of appointment records at Phoenix and other locations but has not made a determination on whether any deaths are related to the delays.







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Maipono wrote:
Yet one more scandal Obama had to read the news to find out about. The problem is that he has studied, criticized and politicized this subject since he was a senator, and now he didn't know about it until the press wrote about it? Not very credible for the leader of the greatest nation. Now General Shinseki has to "fall on the sword" to defend Dear Leader.
on May 30,2014 | 05:55AM
inverse wrote:
Not to worry, after UH hires Lasseter for just a little while, they will then hire Shinseki to be UH President
on May 30,2014 | 06:06AM
OldDiver wrote:
Next Fox News target; impeach President Obama.
on May 30,2014 | 06:32AM
Ronin006 wrote:
Yes, impeach Obama. He deserves it by violating his oath of office to enforce laws passed by Congress and by repeatedly violating the Constitution by issuing executive orders to change provisions of laws he does not like or which interfere with his radical agenda. Congress and only Congress can make laws and change laws. The president's role is to faithfully execute laws passed by Congress. His miserable failure to do so is impeachable.
on May 30,2014 | 07:08AM
ehrhornp wrote:
So typical of a phony conservative. Call for the impeachment of Obama while ignoring the corruption and incompetence of that republican hero, G W Bush. Way to go hypocrites. And Ron can you name a US president who hasn't issued executive orders?
on May 30,2014 | 07:41AM
Nevadan wrote:
GW hold the title of being the worst president in recent history. BO still has 30 months to go. My bet: BO will beat out GW.
on May 30,2014 | 08:25AM
ehrhornp wrote:
I will take that bet. lol
on May 30,2014 | 09:22AM
DAGR81 wrote:
GW is not the worst president in recent history, but Obama already is the worst president ever.
on May 30,2014 | 09:31AM
thos wrote:
Wrong. JFK holds that position. A weak gutless indecisive punk in WAY over his head, he came within a whisker of getting us all incinerated in a full up arsenal exchange with the Soviets in October 1962.
on May 30,2014 | 05:05PM
2localgirl wrote:
oh my, more defense of one who certainly needs it. This certainly is a ''transparent'' presidency...just as promised...oh wait, it's not?? Still going after all before his failed leadership. This one never served his country in any manner of speaking...sad to say...
on May 30,2014 | 08:26AM
ehrhornp wrote:
Well I will defend someone who has at least moved the country in the right direction. But hay, don't criticize past republican idiots. They were not at fault. lol Just remember when you ignore history, you are bound to repeat it. Main reason I would not vote republican today, with one exception.
on May 30,2014 | 09:24AM
Ronin006 wrote:
Ok, let's say G.W. Bush was corrupt and incompetent. What provisions of the Constitution did he violate? Yes ehrhornp, all presidents have issued executive orders. That is not the issue nor is it the number of executive orders each president has issued. The issue is Obama issuing executive orders to change laws. That authority is granted exclusively to Congress by Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution. The president’s power relative to laws passed by congress is contained in Article 2, Section 3, Clause 5, which the President must "take care that the laws be faithfully executed. You apparently believe it is ok for Obama to ignore the Constitution and do as he pleases. I don’t, and I believe what Obama is doing has impeachment written all over it. I am waiting for the House of Representatives to show some back bone and start impeachment hearings.
on May 30,2014 | 02:13PM
thos wrote:
Ok, let's NOT say G.W. Bush was corrupt and incompetent.

in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks - - that could not possibly have been brought off but for Slick Willie's 8 straight years of dereliction of duty - - Bush 43 promised he would not falter or fail to do all in his power to prevent a follow on attack on our homeland. And for the next 88 CONSECUTIVE MONTHS, he made good on that pledge. Had he been corrupt or incompetent, he could never have achieved that goal.


on May 30,2014 | 05:09PM
thos wrote:
On May 14,2014 | 05:59PM ehrhornp wrote: No, I was never dumb enough to enlist in the military. I do not believe in selling my soul for a few dollars. And since when has the US military actually defended America? I think their record is pretty bad. I just refer you to the two dates that America was attacked and guess what? The military wash't around. Do you know what those dates were?

on May 14,2014 | 07:04PM you will recall Yours Truly responded: Thank you for sealing your fate. This indelible stain you have put upon yourself will be brought to reader attention .... ad infinitem.

ehrhornp wrote: Call for the impeachment of Obama while ignoring the corruption and incompetence of that republican hero, G W Bush. Way to go hypocrites.. as if he expects people to forget what he HIMSELF is: an unpatriotic utterly self centered hypocrite with pretentions of gravitas.

Bush 43 is a decent, honorable patriot. No wonder ehrhornp despises him and spreads vicious lies about him.


on May 30,2014 | 05:03PM
kolohepalu wrote:
Haha. Bush 43 is decent, and a patriot. Also a witless face-man who couldn't even manage a baseball team properly. Cowboy caricature that made the U.S. a world-laughingstock. And, oh, he's a war criminal.
on May 30,2014 | 08:54PM
Ewasohappy wrote:
G.W. Bush was far better on his worst day than B.H. Obama on his finest day.
on May 30,2014 | 07:06PM
Mythman wrote:
File a lawsuit against him and evoke the other branch of government, the judicial, you didn't mention in your comment.
on May 30,2014 | 08:25AM
localguy wrote:
I was thinking more along the lines of firing our entire congress and senate. You know the source of our problems start there. No reason to keep these baboozes on our dime.
on May 30,2014 | 07:24AM
ehrhornp wrote:
I would be in favor of firing all republicans in the house and the senate. Source of our problems really started with them after the thief of the 2000 election.
on May 30,2014 | 07:42AM
palani wrote:
Yes, sieg heil, Mr. National Socialist.
on May 30,2014 | 07:53AM
ehrhornp wrote:
Sure beats a phony conservative. lol
on May 30,2014 | 08:28AM
Mythman wrote:
Mr Horn, I'm shocked by your kool aid komments today?
on May 30,2014 | 08:26AM
ehrhornp wrote:
Why? Republicans have broken this country. You might have remembered how it was like prior to 2000? Can you tell me one thing you are proud of involving republicans? Why people continue to vote for such a bankrupt party is beyond me. I mean do you really love deficits? Economic meltdowns?
on May 30,2014 | 09:27AM
2localgirl wrote:
Violins anyone?? oh, it's THEFT btw.
on May 30,2014 | 08:29AM
ehrhornp wrote:
Well at least you are paying attention. lol So are you proud of your party taking this country from surpluses to deficits? Be proud of your party. I know Bin was.
on May 30,2014 | 09:29AM
kolohepalu wrote:
Yes. THEFT. Literally.
on May 30,2014 | 08:55PM
2localgirl wrote:
hey, two locals thinking alike! Nope, throw the buggahs out. Clean sweep. Heard it said, this election cycle...in the primary choose the one who has never held elected office before. Campaign for them, tell friends and neighbors,VOTE FOR THEM as no old boy(girl?) network in place. Repeat each election cycle.
on May 30,2014 | 08:29AM
localguy wrote:
Our congress and senate also are in need of new leadership. Senile old fools like Boehner, McConnell, Pelosi, Reid, McCain are just hanging on for their retirement. They all need to go, every member of congress and senate, all losers.
on May 30,2014 | 07:33AM
Mythman wrote:
Err, this old versus young stuff is brull sheet, mr local....
on May 30,2014 | 08:27AM
localguy wrote:
And what do you do with a bay diaper after it has served its purpose? Same applies to bureaucrats. 8 years is long enough, time for new blood. Leave them in office too long and they get filled up just like a diaper.
on May 30,2014 | 09:26AM
cojef wrote:
All of the President's advisers are young chargers who had little organizational skills or operations, thus the number of scandals. The Presidents has had his hands full trying to put out the fires from the "fast and furious", Benghazi, IRS, the "red-line" mistake, and the "bottom-line" issues. All of these mistakes are attributable to the inexperience of his staff. Oh, also, the 16 Czars that he appointed to oversee the Civil servants in the Bureaucracy.
on May 30,2014 | 09:41AM
pcman wrote:
IRT OldD. Obama has known about the VA scheduling since he was a US Senator. Shinseki has known about it since he took the job, because Obama ran his 2008 campaign on it. Shinseki lacked the integrity to own up on it 5 years ago. Firing VA execs now, is too little, too late. He should have told Obama and Congress about it long ago. He was part of the problem and he knew about it. Time to resign.
on May 30,2014 | 07:52AM
Mythman wrote:
Dan Inouye got the general his job - this is the last of the Inouye guys left.
on May 30,2014 | 08:28AM
cojef wrote:
You are right, he was on the Veteran Affairs Committee during his only tenure as a freshman Senator from Illinois. As a junior senator, if he was paying attention to his responsibilities on that committee he knew about the systemic problems then. If not it's the sameo, sameo problem he has being president, not keeping his mind on the job that has oodles of scandals.
on May 30,2014 | 09:48AM
Nevadan wrote:
No way Shinseki and Obama did not know. It was their job to know. This was major from Day 1. Shinseki could not publicize or fix this disaster without Obama's blessing. It's all about protocol.
on May 30,2014 | 11:55AM
Winston wrote:
Your screen name should be "Old Upside Down and Backwards". The VA doesn't exist to preserve the precious reputation of our great and glorious president or a retired general officer. It exists to preserve the health of veterans.
on May 30,2014 | 08:00AM
control wrote:
Once again, republicans and neo-cons continue to talk big and do nothing but be obstructionists.
on May 30,2014 | 09:05AM
droid wrote:
All neo-cons are Republicans. In fact, the majority of Republicans are neo-cons. Too bad, since the only politicians on Capitol Hill talking truth are libertarians like U.S. Rep. Rand Paul (R). He's more of an anti-war activist than 95% of all Democrats.
on May 30,2014 | 09:45AM
Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
And how is demanding ACCOUNTABILITY being "nothing but obstructionists"? Sorry that We the People haven't allowed you Libs to push your bankrupt agenda unfettered by something so trivial as Accountability. And don't waste your breath, because I know the next knee-jerk reaction out of your mouth will be that, by our mere disagreement with the so-called "president's" policies, broken as they are, we're nothing but RACISTS.
on May 30,2014 | 10:24AM
pcman wrote:
IRT inverse. If Shinseki could not manage and direct the VA how could he lead UH? UH has more liars, cheaters, and abusers than the VA. Shinseki is not used to handling such culture. It's not like running an Army where liars, cheaters and abusers are just not tolerated. They are kicked out as fast as they are discovered.
on May 30,2014 | 07:46AM
localguy wrote:
Exactly. The run for office in our congress and senate where this type of low life performance is the standard.
on May 30,2014 | 09:27AM
droid wrote:
Hahaha. This is the truth. And Shinseki has five years of experience in such a bureaucracy now, and can compare and contrast his experience. I think he would be an ideal candidate for UH Prez. He's like the current candidate, only more accomplished and with relevant civilian experience and local roots.
on May 30,2014 | 10:50AM
pcman wrote:
IRT droid. Failure is not the kind of experience we want in a UH prez. Local roots means didly squat like Obama's local roots. What good has Obama done for Hawaii. So much for local roots, huh? Shinseki, like Obama, was good at making excuses. Not good enough in my books.
on May 30,2014 | 02:21PM
inverse wrote:
I trying to make a funny yet be serious. Obviously Shinseki might have been a great military general and leader but lacked the ability to be a great business leader and administrator. You have to run the VA, or any gov't agency like a profitable private business or you will get results like the VA, IRS, etc. The serious point I was trying to make is even if someone fails miserably, "local style" is for someone connected in Hawaii to give them a high paying job at UH cause it is easy money, good for high three retirement calculation, etc. there is NO accountability, and any failures at UH get easily sweeped under the rug (to many to list) followed by a promotion or golden parchute (ie dobelle, hinshaw, greenwood, fat mac, donovan, frazier, carbone, etc.)
on May 30,2014 | 09:45AM
Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
Well! That explains why obama has no prior military service on his laughably thin resume'. Thanks for clarifying that, pcman.
on May 30,2014 | 10:26AM
kolohepalu wrote:
Yeah, he's only been a law school professor specializing in constitutional law. I'm sure you're much more qualified.
on May 30,2014 | 08:57PM
bubbaButt wrote:
Wow! You can hand peck a keyboard and you think you're qualified. SAD! LOOSAH!
on May 30,2014 | 11:13PM
entrkn wrote:
It would be a wonderful day for the University of Hawaii if General Shinseki did become its president.
on May 30,2014 | 10:01AM
lee1957 wrote:
Shinseki fell on his sword without assistance. He seemed unwilling to take bold action.
on May 30,2014 | 07:48AM
localguy wrote:
Obtuse government regulations, meddling by our dysfunctional congress and senate make quick and bold action impossible. Not like in a private company where you can do this.
on May 30,2014 | 09:29AM
pcman wrote:
IRT local guy. Correct. The House passed a bill to give Shinseki the authority to take immediate actions to fire people under him. The Senate Democrats led by Reid disapproved the bill.
on May 30,2014 | 02:27PM
South76 wrote:
Because those who are under gun are government unions members; and these are the same one who anoint lib dems back making laws.
on May 31,2014 | 01:18AM
droid wrote:
@lee1957: If you were keeping up, you would realize "bold action" was impossible because of laws and regulations that made it extremely difficult to fire top VA officials. That is why U.S. House Republicans have already forwarded a bill to the U.S. Senate that will FINALLY ALLOW bold action to be taken.
on May 30,2014 | 11:04AM
Skyler wrote:
I don't think he was unwilling. He was hamstrung by not being able to fire those who needed firing because the Senate shot that down. Besides, no one caught the AZ scheduling problem until it was too late. The 'gamers' got away with it because they knew the scheduling software's shortcomings & exploited it for their greed. Once the auditing feature was turned on, those shenanigans stopped.
on May 30,2014 | 12:41PM
Bdpapa wrote:
If I were the President, I would ask the General how to fix the problem. Then, I would ask the General to take the challenge. But,obviously it ain't gonna happen.
on May 30,2014 | 06:11AM
2_centz wrote:
USA government doesn't have enough money to start taking care of the veterans. USA is bankrupt but won't admit that fact. Sooner or later it will happen. If Shinseki stayed at that job he gets paid like all the others for being there ONLY. Can't do anything or start anything now anyway.
on May 30,2014 | 06:36AM
serious wrote:
Yes, they are running out of money. The VA system was set up to take care of service related medical problems but it has turned into a full service free medical plan for any veteran for ANY medical problem. They are not personnel or financially equipped to do that.
on May 30,2014 | 07:25AM
pcman wrote:
IRT serious. The VA turned in half a billion dollars of their budget last year. As president Obama said this morning there was always enough funding, which he took credit for over the past 5 years.
on May 30,2014 | 08:03AM
pcman wrote:
IRT Bd. Obama ran his 2008 campaign on the VA scheduling issue. Shinseki should have established a "Tiger Team" to get to the bottom of the issue and taken actions, like asked for more doctors, better software, and fired managers of liars, cheaters and abusers. Obama was right to let Shinseki go for not following up on Obama's promises.
on May 30,2014 | 08:00AM
Bdpapa wrote:
Obama made the promise. The question is , Did Obama give him the resources to accomplish this task?
on May 30,2014 | 08:46AM
pcman wrote:
IRT BD. Obama said, this morning, he always gave Shinseki what he wanted in resources.
on May 30,2014 | 02:30PM
soundofreason wrote:
"He credited Shinseki with reducing veteran homelessness, improving care for women and making progress on veterans' education and mental health treatment.">>> I think I'm going to go into work today and only do part of my job functions and wait for the praise at the end of the day. No?
on May 30,2014 | 06:28AM
NanakuliBoss wrote:
Who will the republicans replace for Shiseki? No answer.
on May 30,2014 | 07:43AM
lee1957 wrote:
The repubs don't have a choice, the President does.
on May 30,2014 | 07:49AM
ehrhornp wrote:
That is right. Thank God for that. Republicans only appoint idiots who hate their job.
on May 30,2014 | 08:30AM
WhyBother wrote:
ehrhornp: you reflect poorly on Democrats. Please stop since it's unbecoming and hard for even Democrats to read your comments.
on May 30,2014 | 10:15AM
Skyler wrote:
Mahalo for that.
on May 30,2014 | 12:42PM
soundofreason wrote:
Kinda like his press secretary who also resigned today?
on May 30,2014 | 08:06PM
soundofreason wrote:
"Obama said Shinseki had served with honor, but the secretary told him the agency needs new leadership and he doesn't want to be a distraction. "I agree. We don't have time for distractions" >>> Obama dictionary: Distraction - Anything that attempts to address the reasons for my failures on my clock. See also: Benghazi - IRS targeting -
on May 30,2014 | 06:34AM
coco8boone wrote:
Thank you Fox News
on May 30,2014 | 07:12AM
localguy wrote:
Our congress and senate also are in need of new leadership. Senile old fools like Boehner, McConnell, Pelosi, Reid, McCain are just hanging on for their retirement. They all need to go, every member of congress and senate, all losers.
on May 30,2014 | 07:26AM
soundofreason wrote:
I'll agree to replacing the whole lot of them. At some point they're all in it together.
on May 30,2014 | 08:08PM
kolohepalu wrote:
Yeeeahh. Because Benghazi has so much merit as a relevant issue. The pathetic repubs comb desperately through the garbage for any negativity they can bring up, and then get indignant and "patriotic" when their so-called issues are exposed as groundless partisan noise. Most of the country cares about what is good for the country, not how we can best oppose Obama- so get over it.
on May 30,2014 | 09:02PM
paulokada wrote:
Now what? Fire some of the 300,000 VA workers to fix the problem. They should rob a bank. Prisoners get better treatment.
on May 30,2014 | 06:40AM
Ken_Conklin wrote:
It's a shame that Shinseki's long career of service to our nation comes to an end with this disastrous humiliation. It's an even greater shame that Shinseki has spent 5 years allowing the Veterans Administration to ignore and abuse military veterans who desperately need healthcare.
on May 30,2014 | 06:41AM
boshio wrote:
Any one can see that the shame really comes on our leaders in congress, and not on Shinseki.
on May 30,2014 | 09:18AM
localguy wrote:
Do you honestly think Shinseki was aware of this from day one and did nothing? Not possible. When those in lower positions cover up their job failures it is hard to get the information out. Just look at how our congress and senate have for decades failed to do their job. Covering up behind closed doors, sweetheart deals for them, their list of failures is endless.
on May 30,2014 | 09:32AM
Skyler wrote:
I don't think anyone knew about the problem because the greedy managers exploited the software they were using. Once they were audited & the 'auditing' feature enabled, the bs appointment-setting stopped. Bonuses were tied to performance - big problem when you have a bunch of heartless bottom-feeders running the program. Shame on the Veterans who harmed their fellow Veterans because of pure greed.
on May 30,2014 | 12:45PM
soundofreason wrote:
How many letters do you think were written by loved ones during all of this?
on May 30,2014 | 08:12PM
Skyler wrote:
To whom did they write these purported letters?
on May 31,2014 | 12:47AM
krusha wrote:
Seems like Shinseki's deputies were only trying to cover their own behind. Shinseki also learned the hard way that unlike the military, the crap ended up rolling up the hill instead of down when he took this VA position. With the budget problems they face with the enormous bureaucracy of this beast that has loomed for decades, I don't think the problems they have will be fixed any time soon, especially with all the new vets they have to take care of with the wars we have been fighting lately.
on May 30,2014 | 06:44AM
AniMatsuri wrote:
The VA health system has always been bad and got worst under the Shinseki/Obama. If government health care is so bad at caring for just 1% of the population which Vets are how can we expect it to care for the rest of the over 300 million in the U.S.?
on May 30,2014 | 06:45AM
2localgirl wrote:
oh, so now the two ''local boys'' can be blamed? Place the blame where it belongs, even on locals....shame for the vets. They deserve MUCH better...
on May 30,2014 | 08:33AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Throw the baby out with the bath water. Problems at the VA persisted for more than 40 years but I guess someones has to fall on his sword.
on May 30,2014 | 06:46AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Mixed Metaphor Award. Babies falling on swords in their bath water.
on May 30,2014 | 08:06AM
soundofreason wrote:
Just another one of those babies with swords stories we hear all day long;)
on May 30,2014 | 08:14PM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
Yep, that's the problem. The VA has been a mess for decades, So with the good general resigning, perhaps the VA's Inspector General should be next. I mean the IG had received numerous complaints but never seemed to find any problems until now?
on May 30,2014 | 08:30AM
KeithHaugen wrote:
Obama should not have asked Shinseki to resign; he was not/is not the problem. And to replace him with a banker? Gimme a break. Shinseki should not have resigned; he should have stayed on to fix the problem.
on May 30,2014 | 06:46AM
Ronin006 wrote:
Keith, he is not just a banker; he is the son of an Army Air Corpsman who served in World War II and grandson of a World War I Army Infantryman, which make him eminently qualified to head the VA.
on May 30,2014 | 07:22AM
Tanuki wrote:
I am the son and grandson of doctors. So, following your reasoning, I am qualified to operate on your head to try to find your brain.
on May 30,2014 | 09:30AM
Skyler wrote:
#commentoftheday
on May 30,2014 | 12:46PM
Ronin006 wrote:
Tanuki, after reading your comment, I think you are the one needing a little work between the ears. Anyone with half a brain should know my comment was a satirical addition to Keith Haugen’s comment.
on May 30,2014 | 02:24PM
bubbaButt wrote:
Yay! Thanks for showing all the readers you know how to CUT (CTRL-X) and PASTE (CTRL-V). You think you're so smart!
on May 30,2014 | 11:19PM
false wrote:
LOL LOL LOL He wasn't ask to resign… he was thrown under the bus.
on May 30,2014 | 07:30AM
AhiPoke wrote:
I agree that Shinseki is the the problem but as is usually the case someone had to take the fall. Also, while I don't think it's entirely Obama's fault, he specifically stated several years ago that he was going to solve the problems. By acknowledging that he knew of the problems he can't run away from them now. Had he not acknowldged to problems we'd probably be hearing that he just heard about it on TV. IMO the root of the problems is the unionized bureacracy of government workers, where everyone is absolved from accountability. Until that's fixed (probably never) government programs will never run efficiently. Don't believe it? Watch and see how no one will ever be prosecuted for their criminal behavior at the VA hospitals.
on May 30,2014 | 07:37AM
South76 wrote:
I agree with you unionized government workers is the problem, once you are a union paying member getting rid of you is impossible. The union will defend you no matter how terrible your work performance is.
on May 31,2014 | 01:31AM
pcman wrote:
IRT Haugen. Shineseki himself told the president, if you believe the president after all of his continuous lying, that the attacks and abuses of politicians and the press were distracting him from solving the problems. Shinseki had over 5 years to solve the problem and he knows he failed the president and figured it was time to let the job go. Shinseki, by his prolonging the problem and not solving it when he could, actually became part of the problem. Shinseki should have known, as it is in the military, officers are moved around often and sooner than later so they can identify problems and pass it to the next guy to fix. He should have also known that bonuses cause corruption in civil service, whereas in the military they give you a two-bit (that's 25 cents) medal for your service.
on May 30,2014 | 08:24AM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
I think Shinseki did what his command officer instincts told him to do - resign for the good of the organization even though deep in his soul he wants to fix the problem. Look it seems that line staff and managers have developed a system of deception that even the Inspector General missed. If Shinseki's resignation does any good it will remove him as a distraction and allow the VA to fix the problem. I think Shinseki is a good an honorable man who has served our country with distinction and I hate to see him go out like this. I can only hope that now that the scandal has broken wide open, the managers and staff who lied in their reports to VA headquarters in part so they could get their bonuses are held CRIMINALLY responsible for their actions.
on May 30,2014 | 11:17AM
Giligan wrote:
Duckworth, you are spineless for also calling for resignation, stay in Illinois.
on May 30,2014 | 06:51AM
lee1957 wrote:
Shinseki was in over his head, way over his head.
on May 30,2014 | 07:51AM
Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
As is his boss. Hopelessly, I might add.
on May 30,2014 | 10:28AM
pcman wrote:
IRT Gilligan. I suppose you know better than Duckworth, who knows firsthand as a two-limb amputee of the Global War On Terrorists, that the VA under Shinseki has not been as great as Obama and Shinseki say it is. She is a member of the Defense and VA oversight committees in the House of Reps. She knows firsthand that the VA has not spent its budgetary funds every year so it is not a funding issue but a management policy issue.
on May 30,2014 | 08:43AM
Manoa_Fisherman wrote:
Duckworth worked for Shinseki at the VA. Obviously, she threw him under the bus before any reporter starts to ask why she didn't do her job at the VA and fix the problems there, especially as a wounded vet herself.
on May 30,2014 | 11:01AM
Shotzy wrote:
I would point out the firing of the "General" is not going to fix anything. It only gives the all mighty liberal impression that "Hey" look at me. I Care about this matter enough to fire my secretary. If you really want to do something constructive, use that phone and pen of yours to nullify and shred the unions contract covering "Terminating Useless Employees": and then really CLEAN house.
on May 30,2014 | 06:52AM
pcman wrote:
IRT Shotzy. The General had 5-1/2 years to solve the problem of scheduling, cheating and corruption in the VA. Obama asked him to resign so someone else can take a shot at fixing the problems. 2 more years of the General will not solve the problems. He is already too close to the problem and cannot be objective any more. Better to resign than to go into a rage.
on May 30,2014 | 10:08PM
honupono wrote:
Scapegoat. His resignation will not affect the systemic problem. Politics did this. Lets find out who the next scapegoat will be. Dick h Cheney perhaps.
on May 30,2014 | 06:53AM
Oahuan wrote:
General Shinseki, you can't do your job as if you're working in Hawaii. Didn't you know that?
on May 30,2014 | 06:56AM
kaupani wrote:
Sad day for one of Lihue's hero. Good man, but perhaps out of his element.
on May 30,2014 | 06:58AM
ninilchikman wrote:
Guess he found out that the do nothing crowd of current Hawaii politics doesn't work nationally. Sometimes people expect results. Here comes our next democratic governor!
on May 30,2014 | 07:05AM
2localgirl wrote:
hey in Lihue the other day, on major hwy. signs for DUKE AIONA! CAM CAVASSO! so sounds like Kauai people have something other than lock step going on?
on May 30,2014 | 08:36AM
kolohepalu wrote:
No. Most Hawai'i people work for a living. They know that the repubs are for the rich, by the rich. And they're homophobic. And racist. And so Hawai'i is blue, and will stay that way. I hear texas is looking for residents.
on May 30,2014 | 09:04PM
South76 wrote:
Here we go again with the race comment again and the rich. Buddy look at the people who has money in Hawaii, who are they voting for or which party do they belong to. As for race, only the libs bring up the race card when they can't defend a program that was created that is NOT working. As for homophobic, both parties have their share of those who are those who don't share the same views. Gabbard who belongs to which party? established a group that tried and failed to stop the gay marriage issue.
on May 31,2014 | 01:39AM
NYUH wrote:
Sorry to hear about this. Thank you General Shinseki for your valiant service. I doubt it would have happened to a white man (like me), but if it helps the Vets...
on May 30,2014 | 07:12AM
NYUH wrote:
The VA budget has tripled since 9/11 thanks to the Bush debacles and all the human wreckage they created. FY 2014 budget is around $160 billion dollars. Hiring doctors and nurses, evaluating the best new technologies, finding sites and building hospitals is a tall order. Good luck to the new boss.
on May 30,2014 | 07:16AM
Charliegrunt wrote:
My sincerest apologies to GEN Shinseki. I was one of those who supported his ouster. Had I been aware of much of what is provided in this article, I would not have been so critical and supported him. Key statements like, "the situation can be fixed", "government would not give any performance bonuses this year", "would use all authorities it has against those who 'instigated or tolerated' the falsification of wait time records...", "He also asked Congress to support bill by Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, which would give department more authority to remove government employees who are in leadership positions.", and yesterday's report on the VA Pacific Islands investigator shows that he has received inaccurate reports, and once aware had planned appropriate actions. Replacing him with a banker is not the answer. Yet, this follows the "Teflon Man's" pattern, doesn't it!
on May 30,2014 | 07:23AM
2localgirl wrote:
performance bonus, huh? This 'ain't a private company here. It's tax $ at work. Since when do we get rewarded for paying our taxes on time?! Lol, stupid....
on May 30,2014 | 08:38AM
localguy wrote:
Now we need to focus on doing the same for our utterly dysfunctional congress and senate. Lowest approval and job performance ratings ever. Even admitted on TV by McCain. Boenher is a total loser, can't do the job. They shut down the government and laughed at it. Lets make this a complete housecleaning.
on May 30,2014 | 07:23AM
false wrote:
Well now that President Obama has fired Shinseki… the problem is solved and we won't be hearing any more about it on the news. Move along folks, problem solved, nothing to see here.
on May 30,2014 | 07:27AM
CriticalReader wrote:
OK, so now EVERYTHING that's wrong with the VA is going to be fixed, right?
on May 30,2014 | 07:39AM
alfhawaii wrote:
What have Arizona's Republican Sentors and Congressman done except yap their loudmouths. The problems at the VA go back to 2005 when GW was in office.
on May 30,2014 | 07:43AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
It's Bush's fault!
on May 30,2014 | 08:06AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Burning or Barbara?
on May 30,2014 | 08:58AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Baked Beans! Roll that beautiful bean footage.
on May 30,2014 | 12:13PM
2localgirl wrote:
hey, did Ali leave and return to the 'coast'?
on May 30,2014 | 08:39AM
control wrote:
Interesting that the places with the worst reported offenses are all red states.
on May 30,2014 | 09:09AM
PokeStop wrote:
Looks like White House press secretary James Carney is following in Shinseki's footsteps. Just announced that he has resigned from his post. Obama has serious problems in trying to save his sinking ship!
on May 30,2014 | 08:12AM
lokela wrote:
This problem has been going on for years. Way before Shinseki or Obama. No head of the VA did anything to fix the problems then. Even with Shinseki out this problem is not going away anytime soon. Don't you know that Vets are second class citizens who caught our backs and still are.
on May 30,2014 | 08:39AM
Wazdat wrote:
This has been going on for DECADES....
on May 30,2014 | 08:48AM
aomohoa wrote:
Needed a scapegoat! Just another broken government agency run by incompetent people who just don't care, with no accountability.
on May 30,2014 | 08:57AM
bleedgreen wrote:
I am glad that, in the end, Shinseki made the right decision. Problem now is how to move forward.
on May 30,2014 | 09:21AM
Tanuki wrote:
This situation points to the fractured state of our Congress. The same individuals who called for Shinseki's firing were the people who cut the funding to help the VA.
on May 30,2014 | 09:33AM
maya wrote:
Then Shinseki should have been out there screaming to Congress that he needed more funding. All we heard was silence. He was not an advocate for his veterans.
on May 30,2014 | 09:50AM
kauailawyer wrote:
No Obama Library in Hawaii!!!
on May 30,2014 | 09:37AM
maya wrote:
This guy served in the military as a high ranking officer, but treated his veterans like dirt. He sounds like your typical career brownoser, ready to throw people overboard to further his career. He should have fought for his veterans so they could receive the very best healthcare, even if it meant going against his administration. Instead, he collected government perks,and let veterans suffer. He is no one to admire. He tarnished his own reputation.
on May 30,2014 | 09:48AM
juke wrote:
have you walked in his shoes?
on May 30,2014 | 10:13AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
Get da kine luau feet. No fit.
on May 30,2014 | 12:13PM
false wrote:
Said the little old lady behind the counter. I'll have fries with that order, hon.
on May 30,2014 | 10:19AM
Skyler wrote:
Beyond sad situation all around. Shinseki, though highly qualified, was too trusting & some people in the VA were to f'n greedy to give a rat's behind about their fellow Veterans. God bless our Veterans.
on May 30,2014 | 10:35AM
konag43 wrote:
i feel sorry for shinseki. its not his vault the government hires incompetent people. i hope they fire everybody that actually caused the problem.,
on May 30,2014 | 10:59AM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
Some of those guys need to go to jail.
on May 30,2014 | 11:18AM
pcman wrote:
IRT kona. The House Repubs passed a bill to allow Shinseki to take names and kick out the culprits. The Senate Democrats disapproved the bill.
on May 30,2014 | 10:11PM
retire wrote:
News flash, local boy screws up!- Say it ain't so Eric!
on May 30,2014 | 11:11AM
RandolphW wrote:
General Shinseki would be a great president for the University of Hawaii. His expertise would greatly benefit the Manoa Campus.
on May 30,2014 | 12:11PM
Ranger wrote:
OK he is responsible as it happened on his watch, I get that. What I'd like to know is what about Medical and Administrative Directors the the Phoenix VA, as well the Regional VA Director and subordinate chain of employees directly involved in this fiasco. Does Shinseki take the hit and the others directly involved go untouched. He was not the person on the phone or speaking directly to the the veterans at the VA giving false information.
on May 30,2014 | 12:13PM
Locokane wrote:
Unfortunately, Secretary Shinseki did not lead or manage VA with the basic management principle of: "Believe, but Verify". VA should be privatized except for those medical services provided to those Vets with 50% or more service connected injuries. The VA process of reviewing service connected injury claims should be thoroughly reviewed and the need for the army of non-medical personnel initially reviewing those claims. It should be noted that Korean War and Vietnam Era vets did not have thoroughly medical follow-up by doctors, but normally corpsmen. Also, medical documentation for recent vets from the past two wars are much better with better trained career doctors. Also, the army of VA lawyers and judges that adjudicate and delay claims should be reviewed since prior claim precedence are not applied and lead to constant inconsistent rulings. As the backlog continues veterans are dying and denied benefits. Yes, VA needs a bottoms-up review, but from outside reviewers not the in-house OIG.
on May 30,2014 | 02:30PM
Maunawiliboy wrote:
Too bad. The General is an honorable man.
on May 30,2014 | 02:55PM
soundofreason wrote:
Agreed. Just in over his head.
on May 30,2014 | 08:21PM
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