The following is a press release from the office of Congressman Steven Palazzo.
Palazzo Calls for Shinseki to 'Clean House' at VA or Resign
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Steven Palazzo, (MS-4), released the following statement today regarding widespread negligence and mismanagement within the Department of Veterans Affairs, which resulted in delays for veteran care and numerous deaths.
"The American people have endured scandal after scandal from this Administration, yet we've seen no accountability," Palazzo stated. "Top VA officials were rewarded for bad behavior while veterans died waiting in a backlogged system. We will not stand for such shameful treatment of our veterans. Secretary Shinseki should act swiftly to either clean house at the VA or clean out his own desk."
Palazzo is a cosponsor of the Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014, which the House plans to consider on Wednesday. To date, no one in the Department of Veteran Affairs has been fired over the falsifying of medical records. Robert Petzel, the Veteran Affairs Undersecretary for Health, has resigned but was already scheduled to retire later this year.
At a House Veterans Affairs Committee Hearing in November 2013, Palazzo raised concerns about the VA's failure to address systemic flaws in leadership as he condemned reports of inadequate care at the Jackson Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC). Despite the fact that those incidents resulted in the death of patients, evidence showed those in charge were transferred to different facilities instead of being fired. Palazzo said the facility, named after Mississippian and famous veteran advocate G.V. "Sonny" Montgomery, is "not in keeping with his legacy of service."
"It just sounds like the good old boy network," Palazzo stated. "You know you're either transferred, or you resign and you become a consultant somewhere within the system. There just seems to be some serious issues with the VA, and I don't just think it's Jackson. I think there's management issues all across the nation, and I hope by bringing attention to this one that we can fix it so no other veterans have to endure the nightmare that they are going through in Jackson. The fact that Mr. Jenkins lost a friend, and thank you for your service as well, you lost a friend, a fellow employee and a veteran because of gross incompetence and people aren't in jail? I'd like to know everyone that was involved in that. They should have been fired immediately."