The Veterans Affairs hospital director in Denver has come down with a severe case of sudden retirement syndrome, the symptoms of which are cost overruns, delayed patient care, and a 9News investigation.
In the days of yore, public officials were held accountable for malfeasance, but Lynette Roff has been rewarded with a paid, lifetime vacation at the taxpayer’s expense.
The Denver Post reported that “the VA had denied keeping any secret or unauthorized waiting lists. VA bonuses are based partly on minimizing wait times for medical appointments.”
Obviously the lists are not a secret, now. VA also claimed the lists were not authorized. Are we to assume the lists were in fact authorized? By Roff, perhaps?
But the implausible claim by a VA spokeswoman that Roff’s retirement has NOTHING to do with the recent scandals is preposterous, and only suggests that this administration will not hold accountable its officials who have grossly violated the public trust.
As has become all too common in cases of sudden retirement syndrome, the onset is often triggered by complaints from members of Congress.
In Roff’s case, U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman was the key voice in calling for the inspector general to investigate the entire Denver VA system, calling the secret waiting list “the tip of the iceberg.”
Coffman didn’t mince words when he spoke of Roff’s “sudden retirement” in a statement issued by his office.
“The men and women who have served our nation in uniform and sacrificed so much for our freedom deserve better than Director Roff’s leadership,” said Coffman. “She did the right thing by leaving. The veterans of this nation are desperate for leadership in the VA that will challenge its culture of bureaucratic corruption. The VA needs new leadership at every level.”
Meanwhile, Roff remains oblivious to the scandal surrounding her tenure, which includes substantial cost overruns at the Aurora facility.
“I have elected to retire after almost 42 years of government service. It’s been my honor to work with so many in the Denver community, and my thanks goes to all that have surrounded and supported me.”
Not a whole lot of remorse there, for a job well-failed.
The Denver Post also reports that U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet weighed in with his concerns that the VA kept their transgressions secret.
“I am troubled, not only (by) the very existence of this type of wait list at the Denver VA Medical Center, but also by the failure of the VA in Denver and Washington, D.C., to come forward and proactively share the potential existence of the list. The lack of transparency is deeply concerning.”
In the grand scheme of things, we consider it critical that the VA failed to care for veterans, that it declined to confess its sins to Michael Bennet, not so much.