Daniel Zimmerman, Secretary of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, has announced that the director of a care facility in Wisconsin has been reassigned in the middle of an investigation. The announcement was made on Friday and was reported by the Wisconsin State Journal.
The facility in question is the King veterans home, and the director had been working in that capacity since March 2013. The Secretary’s office added that an investigation being followed by the Wisconsin State Journal is not related to the reassignment; however, an employee who handles records maintained by the Department tried to withhold an email that was sent to the Governor’s Office.
The King home for veterans has been investigated by the Wisconsin newspaper due to several complaints about the quality of care being provided. As a result, the facility was subject to a legislative audit. Although Veterans Affairs is a federal agency, certain matters are handled at the state level.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, journalists investigating a report of a liquid oxygen leak at the aforementioned veterans home claim that the employee in charge of releasing email communications about this matter, whose name has been revealed as Reid Aaron, may have omitted certain messages that would later be turned over by the Governor’s Office.
A former Veterans Affairs state administrator attempted to investigate matters related to the complaints about deficient care as well as the purported leak of liquid oxygen, which is potentially dangerous. The administrator eventually lost his job after filing hundreds of public records requests, which journalists believe may have been obfuscated instead of honored.
The results of the investigation into the King facility thus far show a troubling lack of transparency by the VA, and the sudden reassignment of the director comes at a troubling time for the federal agency.