Legion on Shinseki resignation: ‘It is a beginning'

American Legion National Commander Daniel M. Dellinger issued the following statement regarding today’s resignation of Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki:

"It is not the solution, yet it is a beginning. The solution is not complete with Shinseki's resignation. Too many veterans have waited far too long to receive the benefits that they have earned. Wait times are increasing even for fully developed claims. But it was never just about a few of the top leaders. The solution is to weed out the incompetence and corruption within the VHA and the VBA so the dedicated employees can continue to perform admirably on behalf of our nation's veterans. The American Legion's members and professional staff stand ready to assist in any way feasible.”

The American Legion was the first major veterans service organization to call for the resignations of the top three officials at VA following revelations of secret patient waiting lists, inadequate care, and excessive and undeserved bonuses to managers at dozens of VA Medical Centers throughout the United States. Undersecretary for Health Robert Petzel resigned on May 16. No announcement has yet been made about the other official, Undersecretary for Benefits Allison Hickey.

“The American Legion congratulates Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson and we look forward to working with him,” Dellinger added. “Secretary Gibson is assuming an awesome responsibility, which will require decisive action and the changing of an entire culture. Veterans deserve the best this country can offer.”


  1. Forcing General Shinseki to resign is a political expedient, not a solution. Having been a TRICARE Senior Healthcare Internal Auditor before retirement, I must ask how robust and with what due diligence were the VA management use internal audit processes. It appears NOT. My Agent Orange PCA surgery was done under TRICARE because of the urology staffing issues at the PHX VAMC. One should also ask what the VA medical leadership did or did not do to utilize Spectrum physicians staffing contracts? In the Phoenix vet community, word from a retired Colonel, volunteer, is that up to 50% of vets are "no shows" for ambulatory care appointments, a practice that wastes manpower resources and deprives others of care opportunities.
  2. I think that all who received bonus's by fake reporting their performance in wait times be charged for crimially takeing money from the VA. People get a lot of jail time for stealing a lot less money. This improperly takeing money is theft.
  3. Excellent suggestion, but I am not holding my breath until anyone is charged much less doing time.
  4. Shinseki had to resign, perhaps not so much to take blame than to demonstrate his support for real change at the VA. He knew if he stayed on in that role he would continue to be a distraction to real solutions. However, in his five years as Secretary of VA, one has to wonder how or why he let these problems continue. Sure, it may be the problems were not brought to his attention, however, it's hard to imagine that the congressional hearings and IG audits were not evidence enough for him to demand stronger action from his staff. In any case, let's face it, Shinseki had to take the fall. The administration was facing a backlash on this issue from BOTH Republicans and Democrats.
  5. Why is the Legion not up to date on the plight of veterans. It seems to be more and more requests for donations and purchase insurance or credit cards than doing the business of the veterans. Is the legion a spokesman and advocate of the veteran, or a social club. Can't think of one thing they have done for me or my friends.
  6. Forcing General Shinseki to resign was a mistake that did not solve any problems whatsoever. As a veteran I understand that the person in charge is responsible however was he given a chance to investigate thoroughly? How does this prevent the same problem from arising or worse not being resolved at all? Will the Legion or should I say the Legion's commander ask for the resignation of the next Secretary? If that does not work then who needs to resign next Commander? The Secretary of Defense? The President?
  7. My sentiments almost to a "T". I have often wondered (and will pursue questioning) why the Commander of the American Legion, who works with veterans all across America, has not been more aware of the difficulties Vets have been having with getting timely appointments and why he has not acted of all the reports that he surely must have received from his diligent Posts. Should he also consider his own resignation for not acting? Don't take me wrong; I am not calling for it because we need all the experience and talent available to solve the Veterans problems, but I AM pointing out that the Commander should not be patting himself on the back for being the 'first to call for' General Shinseki's resignation. The General's experience and knowledge should have been tapped into to pave the way toward the desired solutions. I personally wish he had stayed on despite the Legion Commander's flamboyant stance. This could and should be a new crusade for the local Posts whose motto I thought is 'Vets helping Vets'.
  8. Why have you not called for Jeff Miller and the rest of his committee to resign? He and his committee were supposed to have been exercising oversight of the VA. They failed for worse than General Shinseki did,
  9. General Shinseki is an exceptionally capable, conscientious man of unimpeachable integrity. His resignation is a great loss for veterans.
  10. Agreed. I can't think of anyone better than Shinseki, to take the information at hand and make real, systemic changes to improve the situation for vets. The fact that the Legion called for his resignation instead of focusing on what needs to be fixed and demanding the resources of Congress to do it yet another reason I'm not a member. They just don't get it anymore...
  11. I was agast at the quickness with which the Legion condemned General Shinseki when the original story came to light. I continue to be dismayed as he is forced to resign due to the DC game of scapegoat responsibility. I have worked for the man and realize better than some what a loss we have taken - shame on you Commander Dellinger. I realize that my leaving the Legion will have no impact on the organization but it will help me when I look in the proverbial mirror each morning
  12. Thank you Commander Dellinger for representing the nations veterans and coming to their aid. Keep the pressure on the VA to remove those employees who are not performing. I am very proud to be a Legionnaire.
  13. Dellinger never responded to 5 letters I have written him for the last 2 years pertaining to his employees at the Phoenix Ratings Office. However, i keep everything and record everything when possible .......The longer he ignores this Veteran the better my case is going to be. I'm going to wait 4 more weeks, then I'm releasing all information. This way Obama will have another scandal to worry about.
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