DAV Statement Regarding Secretary Shinseki Resignation

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We honor Secretary Shinseki’s service to our country as a combat-disabled veteran and public servant, and respect his decision to resign and allow new leadership to address this crisis with new solutions.

Ultimately, a change in leadership does not address the root of the VA health care system’s problems of access and appropriate funding levels. On behalf of DAV’s 1.2 million members, we implore the President to quickly identify and nominate, and the Senate to rapidly consider and confirm, the next Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

DAV stands ready to work closely with Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson to implement solutions necessary to ensure all veterans can access the health care they need.

We hope that newly appointed leadership continues to build on the progress made during Secretary Shinseki’s tenure in regards to reducing the claims backlog, veterans’ homelessness, and improving access to mental health care.

While this crisis is deeply disturbing, we hope the issues uncovered serve as a wakeup call to focus America’s attention on the need to fulfill the sacred promises made to the men and women who so honorably served our country.

  • Phil Burnette

    Well said Commander! I am proud to see our DAV take an intelligent position in this important matter. And I am proud to be DAV, Dept of Alabama, Chilton County Chapter 33, Adjutant.

  • Alex

    Congratulations on your letter… it is right on target. But could you also check on your DAV counselors and see if they contribute to delays in processing claims?

    • thedav

      Alex – We give the highest quality training to new NSOs and refresher courses to existing NSOs to make sure they are always informed of policy and procedure changes at the VA. If you feel that an NSO is purposefully delaying a claim, please feel free to contact us https://www.dav.org/contact-us/ and we will forward it to our National Service Director.

      • Justin

        Vistit the TVC and take notes.

      • Alex

        I do not know who answered my post but I find it a bit offensice since all I asked was for the DAV to check on DAV counselors to see what role if any they played in the current fiasco at the VA given the fact that the counselors of the DAV, VFW, and other organizations are authorized to start claims initiated by veterans even before the VA sees them. In fact the VA might not see the veteran at all if the veteran is not told to walk upstairs and see the VA. I could write a letter via your referenced website but why should I? You took offensse and you pressumed I said an NSO purposely delayed a claim. I never said such a thing and it was not implied, however, it is not up to me to conduct an investigation that you all should be conducting. I will tell you that your NSO’s do not follow up on a veteran once you tell the veteran to go get some other papers or whatever. The veteran disappears and you make no effort to contact the veteran to see if the veteran followed your instructions. Why should you follow up? Because you are the expert, you are the counselor, and you are getting paid to be a counselor. I posted previously on my own experiences in helping veterans file their claims through the DAV counselors and the experience has been ugly 3 out of 4 times…that is 75% ugly. Instead of getting offensive try and understand what I am talking about. Yes I know your post is a template…I ‘ve seen you use it on other people. Semper Fi!!!

        • thedav

          Hi Alex – We apologize misinterpreting your question and no way was our answer intended to offend. We thought you were possibly referring to one specific NSO in your case or also possibly all of them. This is why we’ve offered for you to send us a direct email to social@dav.org. It isn’t a template. Our National Service Director takes our NSOs conduct very seriously as they are on the front line handling between 15 and 20 claims a day on average. We really are trying to understand your situation and are always committed to trying to improve our services, but we admit we aren’t perfect because we are a large organization that has 243 NSOs who handle a large volume of claims and the ball will sometimes be dropped in the field. If you would like to contact us and let us know what NSO office you have been going through our National Service Director and Associate National Service Directors will investigate this for you.

  • KG

    I am a Lifetime member of the DAV, 100% service connected disability, loss of use of right leg due to Agent Orange nerve damage. I respect the leadership of the DAV but have to respectfully disagree with the firing of General Shinseki. He has been a problem solver at the VA since he took over for Secretary Pierce. He truly cares for our veterans and with what I know about his leadership at the VA did not contribute to the problems discovered recently. I do not believe the administration gave him the support nor knowledge of what was known and passed on to the Obama regime. Had he been allowed to take control of the problem solving that is needed he would have done an exemplary job in fixing this for the VA. As one Republican congressman said “what is firing the Secretary going to do to address the problem?” “Nothing”. This fire the leader mentality is at best knee jerk, not well thought out, and has no effect on a solution. If it were true, Obama would have been fired a long time ago! My opinion.

    • Alex

      KG, I have to say you are one confused little puppy. Do you really hate President Obama that much? Admit that Republicans are the ones that requested General Shinseki’s head on a platter mainly because they want to embarass the Administration just like you do. That one Republican made a statement after the fact does not reddem Republican’s vile repuutation. Sorry but thats just the way it is. So get you facts straight instead of laying the blame for General Shinseki’s resignation on President Obama look at it for what he said… he resigned, he was not fired…. know the difference.

      • The I

        Thank you Alex and KG for pointing out the VA Secretary position is nothing more than a political sham. When the big errors are found we need a person that is not under Administrative control. Firing the leader before they are allowed to “get dirty” in the problems is why the VA is dysfunctional for vets. Vets aren’t interested in political points that the Administration and parties want to get from “hot topic” issues like Phoenix. Vets want the overall benefits and services promised to them without the delays and adversity. They will not get that when the leader of the organization that serves them is a “political toy.” Shinseki is not the root of the problem in Phoenix. He should have been the one directed to root that problem out once discovered.

  • The I

    As a veteran since 1987, the problem I see with the VA is stability in leadership. The problem is not one leader or one or several Presidents. It’s a system problem. Veterans need a leader of that system that will be held accountable but have enough time to affect the culture and make needed changes. That cannot and will not happen for veterans under the current system of changing with the Administration. The Post Master General does not have to change with the administration and neither does the VA Secretary. The VA Secretary should be a 10 year appointment and answer to congress. Congress should have the authority to fire the VA Secretary when necessary. The President can appoint a new Secretary if the current one resigns or is fired. It should work similar to the way Supreme Court Justices are chosen. Pass it on. It’s past time a for a change of the system.

    • Alex

      The I, I see you want to rewrite the Constitution of the United States. We must keep the branches of government separated but it seems to me that you favor Congress right now because the House of Republicans is ruled by a do nothing political party that all it cares about is making points with its base. Sorry but that is justb the way the founding fathers wanted it. Live with it. This is not really a policy problem because frankly we have enough policies in place… it’s an operational problem created by lower level employees.

      • The I

        The Veteran Affairs Department was not set up by the US Constitution. Neither was NASA. Congress has the best ability to critique the performance of the VA Secretary as veterans over whelming write to their Senators and Representatives about problems with the VA and not the President. Placed in the hand of the representatives who have to show more impartiality and urgency because they don’t have term limits. A President along with his appointments have term limits and that makes the VA Secretary position ineffective for cleaning house. Instead of firing Shinseki, he should have been pointed toward Phoenix and told”that’s your assignment.Clean it up within a year. Do it and report to us with us updates every three months.” But instead, they are going to hire another person with even less knowledge of the operations that Shinseki has now. And the mess continues because the focus is on one area, the flash points, not the entire VA operation. And to directly address the policy problems, employee issues etc, there has to be leader in place long enough that is held accountable for VA operations and make valid long term changes. The present system does not provide that and will not provide that. Five years from now the current system will provide you with the same results your see now. Please review the US Constitution and come back to us in the modern world. Stop dragging your feet in myths. I will be glad to assist you with any other reasonable concerns with politics and veterans.

        • Alex

          Your logic is all askewed. Review the three branches of government and what each is tasked to do. What you are asking is contrary to the separation of powers between the three branches of government and what you are asking is contrary to the Constitution and possibly treasonous… check your loyalty and you will see it is misplaced. And read some of the sentences in your statement, they make no sense specially when you say Congress has no term limits therefore they are better qualified to run the VA? Really? Congressmen are subject to lobbying and therefore more apt to be corrupted especially republicans who are in the pockets of corporations and corrupt millionaires. If you really want to point out corruption look at Republicans in Congress. Republicans joyfully jumped on the VA when corruption first reared its ugly head but at least the DAV and the VA are delivering a service to veterans. What do Republicans do? What has the Congress done lately for Americans? Not a damn thing except create hate and division between Americans.

          • The I

            Alex, what is you understanding of government? Where does the Post Office fit with the three branches? A government agency does not have to fit in direct line with the branches of government. Congress is better qualified to review and the complaints of veterans as there are several representatives and a committee can review the welfare of the VA and the leadership of the VA Secretary. But you fail to see that the Vets are mostly civilians and only a small percentage will ever go back to active duty. It’s like you have forgotten the true purpose for the establishment of the VA. The VA represents the benefit sector for millions who are now civilians but earned their benefits through duty and service. This is being hampered because their is no stability in leadership in this monstrous bureaucracy. There have been some good potential leaders that if they could have stayed, may have made this better for vets. Shenseki was not the problem. But he was let go when faults were found on his watch. VA Secretary is never there to clean up the mess. They are only there to fall on the sword and hand their duties to someone else who will also have fall on the sword to save face for the Administration. All that falling on swords does nothing to better the VA nor help the vets, which is the only reason the VA exists. Since March 15, 1989, there has been 12 people in charge of the VA. Five of those were “acting” appointments. Frankly, they all are acting if we can’t get people to lead this agency for 10 years or so. Most of the problems the VA has now has been guaranteed to be there for any active duty personnel that retires or discharges in the next five years. The organization is large and too bureaucratic to be “fixed” in 3 to 6 years. Why did we have the Phoenix problem? There hasn’t been a VA Secretary to be at the job for 9 or 10 years to find things, fix them and weed out what is bad. Keep kicking the Secretary out to make the Administration look good then we will have the same VA forever. The Postal Service is not a cabinet position and neither does the VA Secretary need to be one. If congress doesn’t oversee the VA leadership,then like the Post Office or Chairman of the Federal Reserves the VA Secretary needs autonomy to run the ship correctly and avoid all the knee jerk emotions that keep the VA from being run effectively and a dismal place for the benefits of those who have served. With the departure of Shinseki, the VA will effectively the be a mess as it was before Shinseki and all the other Secretary’s. It has been said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The Veterans Administration and its predecessors have been plagued with scandal or corruption as far back as the 1920’s. The VA is what it is because people are not as serious about making it work as they are about getting the mail delivered or keeping the economy steady. That’s a fairly weak thanks for our veterans.

          • Alex

            TheI, what in the world are you rambling about? You are muddling your arguments with false assumptions not substantiated with history or the facts or the Constitution. Worst you are redundant and you are beating a dead horse to death. Fact is you seem to be a disgruntled veteran, a disgruntled American, and a sad person that blames the world for his own self inflicted misery. Give it up, you lost my attention with your last rant. Have a nice day, young man.

          • The I

            You are muddling the situation with the Constitution. For your facts on confusing the Constitution in this matter, President Reagan signed law to make the VA Secretary a cabinet post in 1989. President’s tend not to change things written into the Constitution on their own, Alex. Furthermore, you seem totally distant from the problem. There is no provision for a Veteran Affairs Department in the Constitution. I have to assume you have a traumatic brain injury, suffering from an illness brought on by age or too highly medicated to understand normal English and the daily problems that veterans see on a daily basis with the VA.You demonstrate that you are mentally incapable of grasping the endeavor for some reason, which is a good indication why you are committed to seeing the VA stay in the same messy shape. Facts are Alex, I am a person that has worked within the VA system as a trainee and I have Master’s Degree in Finance and Accounting. I can’t type worth a darn but I can sure assess problems and analyze the origin of problems. Now if you can address some of those issues you have with comprehension, facts, and historical information and the vivid imagination that the US Constitution addressed every government agency, your time would be more wisely spent. Please do have a nice day, sir.

  • John Roth

    Veterans, I’m very disappointed in your rhetoric. You all sound more like politicians. Enough complaining and finger pointing. True, when an appointment is only four years it’s no more than a part of a political ladder. I agree that like the U. S. P. S. A longer period of time is necessary. Four years isn’t enough time change the culture or find and clean up the problem. Also, resignation should not be allowed. It should be complete the term, fired , or retirement. There are a lot of employees not just leaders that were at fault. They need to be reminded that the veterans pain guarantees their job. I step aside for others to stand on soap box.

  • George Mitchell

    You know, I am a little bit sick and tired of hearing about Republican and Democrats. We are Veterans! We represent a Nation of people who depended on us for their freedom and a certain few are messing with our VA rights and we need it fixed. I don’t want to hear about politics I want to hear about the idiots down the chain who are responsible getting their butts fired!