Gerlach statement on VA Secretary Shinseki's resignation

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Washington, May 30 | comments

Congressman Jim Gerlach (PA-6th District) issued this statement on Friday following the resignation of General Eric Shinseki as Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs:

"General Shinseki clearly understands the importance of having leaders who are accountable, and I believe he made the appropriate decision to resign. We are grateful for his tremendous valor while serving in Vietnam and thank him for his dedicated career of service to our country. While a change in personnel at the VA certainly is necessary given the inexcusable delays in providing medical care to our veterans and deceptive manipulation of records, there also must be a fundamental change in the culture at the VA. That change can occur only if the President demonstrates leadership and insists that everyone at the VA be accountable to our veterans, their families and taxpayers.

I know that the vast majority of VA employees are dedicated to serving veterans and their families and work hard every day to do just that. But without serious reforms throughout the VA system, the exemplary efforts of the majority will be overshadowed by those who game the system and put their self-interests ahead of the interests of our veterans.  In the House, my colleagues and I already have acted on several fronts to ensure that our veterans have access to the high-quality medical care they've earned and to give the VA Secretary the flexibility all managers need to fire those who are not doing their job before they destroy the morale of competent co-workers and cause harm to our veterans. I am hopeful the leaders of the U.S. Senate and the President will join with us in these efforts."

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