A facility familiar to veterans in this area was the center of a conversation over the last several days between a U.S. Congressman and the Secretary of the Veterans Administration.
Congressman Brad Wenstrup (OH-2), a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, called on Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Bob McDonald to provide further information about recent leadership reassignments at the Cincinnati VA Medical Center (VAMC).
On April 26, the VA announced that John Gennaro, current Director of the Cincinnati VAMC, will be reassigned to the vacant director’s position at the Erie VAMC in Pennsylvania. Glenn Costie, the current Director of the VAMC in Dayton, will fill the role of Acting Director in Cincinnati until a permanent director is hired.
In a letter dated April 28, Wenstrup asked McDonald for more details surrounding the transfer, given the recent allegations of mismanagement at the Cincinnati VAMC, as well as Gennaro’s short tenure as Director. Specifically, he asked: “What were the factors leading to Mr. Gennaro’s reassignment? Why did the VA select this particular time for the transition? Why did the VA choose to replace a Director with an Acting Director at the Cincinnati VAMC? When do you expect a permanent director for the Cincinnati VAMC to be named?”
Wenstrup also inquired about the current environment at the Cincinnati VAMC, given that Mr. Costie has often been asked to lead VAMCs plagued with systemic management problems. “In addition to the serious allegations brought forward by the whistleblowers at the Cincinnati VAMC,” Wenstrup asked, “do you have reason to believe that there are other factors at the Cincinnati VAMC that require Mr. Costie’s management?”
Lastly, the letter asked for an update on the situation of Dr. Barbara Temeck, the former Acting Chief of Staff at the Cincinnati VAMC who was recently demoted to “non-patient care duties while [VA’S Undersecretary for Health, Dr. David J Shulkin] considers appropriate additional actions.”
McDonald’s response was quick.
“Within hours of sending this letter, Secretary McDonald contacted me and answered all of my questions and concerns regarding leadership reassignments at the Cincinnati VA,” Wenstrup said. “I appreciate the Secretary’s promptness and I look forward to our continued work on VA issues on behalf of our nation’s heroes.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.