Local veterans react to VA Secretary's resignation - CBS46 News

Local veterans react to VA Secretary's resignation

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Many veterans in the Atlanta area welcomed the resignation of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, though some said he alone is not responsible for the system's widespread problems.

"He was duped," said William Wright, Sr., a Vietnam veteran. "He was taken by staff in this, and I feel sorry for that because we have a lot of respect for the General."

However, other veterans said as director, Shinseki should have had better oversight of his agency.

"How could you be in such a position and come out and say you don't know what's going on? asked Vietnam veteran Harry Tracey. "That means he didn't care."

The Inspector General investigated Atlanta's VA Medical Center after scores of complaints. At least three patients recently committed suicide. Many said they have endured long wait times for medical treatment and received poor care.

"The director needs to know we need more doctors and more facilities, either bigger or better to help our vets," said Bill Gaskins who served in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf.

An employee told CBS46 News that morale among staff members at the Atlanta VA is poor.

"I see madness," said Bernard Jones, a former Marine and a nurse's aide at the hospital. "All the employees are disgruntled. They're sad. They're arguing."

Many veterans said Shinseki's resignation is only the first step to improving the VA system. They said other administrators must also be held accountable.

"We'll just have to keep up this hard work and hopefully by keeping the fire underneath them, something will be done," said Tracey. "But we can't relax one minute." 

The Atlanta VA did not respond to requests for a reaction to Shinseki's resignation.

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