Letter to Robert McDonald, Secretary of Veterans Affairs - Permanent Replacement for Head of Phoenix VA


The Honorable Robert McDonald
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue, NW
Washington, D. C. 20420

Dear Secretary McDonald:

We write regarding the lack of leadership continuity at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care System (PVAHCS).

As you are aware, the former director of PVAHCS, Sharon Helman, was placed on administrative leave amid allegations of pervasive fraud and mismanagement on her watch. Since that time, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital in Phoenix has seen two interim directors and could easily see a third if the situation is not remedied. The current head of PVAHCS, Glenn Costie, is scheduled to serve until early November. Consistent with federal regulation, temporary details of Senior Executive Service (SES) employees to another SES position are typically made in 120-day increments. We understand that there are no plans to extend Mr. Costie's detail if a permanent replacement has not been identified at the end of his current appointment.

Surely, we can agree that the circumstances surrounding the recent issues at VA facilities around the country are anything but typical and that the Phoenix VA hospital would benefit from increased stability among leadership. Toward that goal, we request that you take the necessary steps to ensure that a permanent replacement the Phoenix facility is expediently appointed.

We appreciate your attention to this matter and ask that this request be carried out in strict accordance to agency rules, regulations, and guidelines.