The Department of Veterans Affairs said Friday it is considering firing a director of a medical clinic in Georgia, and claimed that this move shows its commitment to cleaning up the department in the wake of the VA health care scandal.
The only problem is, that director has already announced his retirement, and the Georgia office told TheBlaze that Thursday was his last day.
The Department of Veterans Affairs, led by Robert McDonald, may finally fire someone... an official in Georgia whose last day was Thursday. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
That omission already has some in Congress fuming about the VA's effort to pass off the retirement of an official — who has already left voluntarily — as matter that is being considered for tough disciplinary action.
"Bragging about the proposed removal of someone who has already announced his retirement can only be described as disingenuous," House Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) said in a statement to TheBlaze. "Department leaders must not tolerate this instance of what appears to be blatant deceit."
"Such semantic sleights of hand are insulting to the families struck by the VA scandal and only do more harm to the department’s badly damaged credibility," he added.
The VA has come under criticism from Congress and some veterans groups for not firing anyone involved in the health care scandal that saw officials lie about health appointment wait-times and then try to cover up their actions. The VA's release on Friday indicates that the VA is trying to pretend as if the firings have begun.
In a Friday release, the VA said it has "proposed removal" of Carl Vinson VA Medical Center Director John Goldman, following an investigation.
"The proposed removal of the director underscores VA's commitment to hold leaders accountable and get veterans the care they need," the release said.
But while the VA is boasting that Goldman has been proposed for removal, local media in Georgia already reported Monday that Goldman is leaving for retirement. "Current director John S. Goldman announced he is retiring after 42 years of service at the federal level," WMAZ reported Monday.
That report said it was already known that an acting director would lead the Georgia facility starting Monday.
The Dublin VA even posted a picture of a local paper reporting Goldman's retirement on its Facebook page, and punctuated it with a note saying Goldman is leaving after 40 years of service.
"That's you, Mr. John S. Goldman for your service to America's heroes!" the VA wrote.
When reached by TheBlaze, an official at the Vinson clinic said Goldman was already gone Thursday, a day before the VA said it was considering his removal.