Tester Statement on VA Montana Director Vacancy

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester issued the following statement after Johnny Ginnity announced his resignation from VA Montana:

“I met face to face with Secretary McDonald yesterday to discuss this issue. He assured me that the VA will move quickly to find and properly vet a new director. I told the Secretary that I will hold the VA accountable for doing so, because Montana veterans deserve a leader who will work hard to increase their timely access to care.”

With Ginnity’s resignation, the top three leadership positions at VA Montana will be operating in an “acting” capacity.

Leadership vacancies are prevalent across the VA, particularly in terms of state directors. A major hindrance to filling these positions has been the VA’s inability to compete within the private health care industry for executive leaders with the appropriate skillsets because of a growing pay disparity between the VA and private sector pay scales.

Tester recently helped introduce a bipartisan bill, the Veterans First Act, which includes two provisions from his DOCS for Veterans Act that specifically address leadership vacancies like this.

The first provision will establish a defined appointment and compensation system for State VA Directors that will help recruit experienced medical directors for VA leadership positions.

The second provision will require an assessment of the VA’s leadership succession plan to address impromptu vacancies like VA Montana’s, and increase the timely appointment and vetting of VA appointees.

The Veterans First Act was recently passed by the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, and may soon receive a final vote on the Senate floor.