October 14, 2012

Why Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs Eric Shinseki Should Resign Immediately

The Veteran’s Administration Inspector General has released a report that absolutely destroys the department for spending a staggering amount of money on meetings, gifts, and parties over the course of the last 7 years.

Since 2005, the VA has held over 1,600 employee conferences, if you can believe it, spending an estimated 300 million dollars.  That works out to a conference every one and a half days.

The most expensive meeting totaled a jaw-dropping 6.3 million dollars…In an ironic twist, the title of this conference was, “Financial Management Training.”

But wait, there’s more! Last year, the VA spent more than 6 million dollars on a pair of “Human Resources” conferences in Orlando. Indeed, the budget for the two conferences, signed off on by the Chief of Staff, actually budgeted the two events at 8 million dollars! I suppose the VA should be lauded for restraining themselves and coming in under budget.

Check out this article on the Military Times and watch the accompanying video, if you can stand it.

This makes the General Services Administration scandal from earlier this year seem like chump change in comparison. This is fraud, waste, and abuse on a massive scale.

Congressmen Jeff Miller and Richard Burr have written a letter to the secretary, retired general Eric Shinseki, demanding answers. They stop short of asking for Shinseki’s resignation, but do ask that his Chief of Staff, John Gingrich, be fired for signing off without critique the 8 million dollar budget for the two events.

Secretary Shinseki should resign. I do not say this lightly, for I recognize General Shinseki has distinguished himself in combat during Vietnam. Indeed, he is a wounded veteran himself, and by all accounts, a patriot.

However, Shinseki either knew about this grotesque culture of waste, and didn’t care, or he didn’t know that the agency he was charged with running was spending more than a quarter of a billion dollars on parties.  (And make no mistake: these were parties, not conferences.) If it was the first scenario, he’s unfit to head up the agency, and if it was the second, he’s incompetent.

The VA is looking at enormous unfunded benefits, with promises made to thousands of troops maimed over the last decade, not to mention all of our soldiers from previous wars. The country as a whole needs to come up with 16 trillion dollars just to get back to breaking even. These federal workers, who receive very generous pay and benefits packages, do not get to have million dollar parties. Want to have a morale party? Spend 200 bucks on a couple kegs of beer.

These veterans of current and past wars have paid dearly, with blood, limbs, and the bodies of their friends. Any government agency with this much waste would be bad enough; when it is the Veteran’s Affairs agency… it is disgusting, deplorable, and a slap in the face to the men to whom you purport to serve, many of whom wait years to get a tiny amount of financial support and long lines at their scarce appointment times.

It is time that the taxpayers of this country start demanding names and firings. I, for one, am tired of the ubiquitous “un-named senior government official” nonsense. I am tired of the re-shuffling of incompetent federal employees.

Something seems to happen to these men when they get to Washington. I’m not sure if it is the corrupting influence of power, the desire to rub elbows with the beltway cocktail crowd, or something more sinister. They forget that they are there as public servants, not lords of the manor. They forget that all of this money is coming from hard-working American taxpayers, who entrust these officials to spend it wisely, while taking their duty of financial smarts seriously, not partying like middle aged frat boys.

As a good friend reminded me, this isn’t the first time General Shinseki has provoked unneeded controversy. Remember the black beret, Rangers? I know some of you still haven’t forgiven the general for that one.

General Shinseki, the buck stops with you. Do the honorable thing, sir… tender your resignation.

(Featured Image: courtesy dvidshub.net)

About the Author

is a retired USAF PJ, current U.S. government contractor, and lover of sandwiches. He can often be found peddling a rusty beach cruiser around the beaches of San Diego, smoking dried banana peels and arguing with hippies.

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  • Maiingankwe

    Thank you, absolutely hilarious. Unfortunately, she sounds like many of our current voters. Cannot believe there are people out there like this, how can someone be so bloody daft?

  • bobosnps

    SHINSEKI YOU PIECE OF SHIT RESIGN U COCKSUCKER AND GET OFF THE TAXPAYERS TEET  ALL VA HOSPITALS SUCK FUCKIN  WELFARE CLINICS  THIS COUNTRY HAS GONE DOWN THE FUCKIN CAN!! 3 MORE YEARS OF VIOLENCE MAYHEM AND MURDER UNDER OBAMA PLAN THE VILLAGE IDIOT!! OBAMA IS EVIL EVIL EVIL!!!!!

  • bobosnps

    dam fuckin durt bags all of them

  • bobosnps

    dam fuckin durt bags all of them

  • DrBobOsenenko

    I doubt if he should resign and lean toward keeping him. It will take a long time for any leader to change the culture of the VA.It didn't just get this messed up and won't get cleaned up unless the entire system becomes transparent.Right now I am looking at a VA window and notice not one staff member in veteran's outreach has any degree ater their name at the same time a local medical center lists all their staff credentials. So VA is what, twenty years behind? Not one outpatient clinic located in the community has satellite capability while every civilian clinic either has that or video conferencing with its staff. Again, not a cost issue but the VA staff must have the will and passion for quality services. That's not a leadership issue my friend. You can't start and fire by rubbing two Tootsie Rolls together. OPM needs to decide if its time to fire staff and support the Gen.Until that happens nothing else will matter.