Tester calls protracted search for VA director 'unacceptable'

Billings Gazette

by Cindy Uken

The selection process for naming someone to lead Montana’s VA Health Care system is taking “far, far too long,” U.S. Sen. Jon Tester said in a recent interview with The Billings Gazette. “It is unacceptable.”

Tester, a member of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, said he met with Robert McDonald, secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, last week to pressure him to name a director.

McDonald, who in July became the eighth VA secretary, told Tester his department is close to naming a director. Tester said he hopes a decision is made before the first of the year, and if there is not, there will be an “explosion.”

Tester also said if someone isn’t named within a week from Monday, he will call McDonald every day until there is. The protracted search is causing good people to withdraw their candidacy for other opportunities, he said.

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