PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Dr. Robert Petzel, undersecretary for health in the Department of Veteran Affairs, testified before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Thursday in wake of the VA scandals and problems.
One day later, he announced his resignation from the VA, even after saying he would retire this year back in 2013.
This story really began to take shape back in September when the VA was criticized for the bonuses award to regional director Michael Moreland. It was announced shortly after the Legionella outbreak was revealed, stunning lawmakers and families.
Petzel was also criticized after a hearing at the Allegheny County Courthouse when he said he would not make Moreland return his bonus, claiming it was earned by his “lifetime of service to veterans.”
Congressman Tim Murphy was among those outraged, he joined Bill Rehkopf on the KDKA Afternoon News to react to the news of Petzel’s resignation.
“It’s phony. It’s absolutely phony, and this now really shows, and I use these words sparingly. This is a lie on the part of the VA,” Murphy says.
Murphy details asking about Moreland’s bonus. He also talks about why he believes Petzel’s resignation doesn’t add up.
“Soon after that, he gave his notice he was leaving the Veterans Administration. He resigned anyway. The White House is in the process of getting a replacement for him. So, now, how do you resign twice? This is what he is offering, he is appearing to be some sacrificial lamb that somehow is going to take the blame that’s not where it should be,” Murphy said.
Murphy says the resignation of Petzel is not enough to take responsibility for an administration that is so rocked by scandal.
So, what should the VA do about Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki? Should he resign, too?
“I think he should, and if not, I think he should be fired. Look, I have tremendous admiration for what he has done in general. He has done a number of things, but before he goes, I want him or someone to tell Congress what other authorities they need. Somewhere in the chain of command they need to take responsibility, there was a pervasive problem throughout the Veterans Administration and that needs to be reformed and needs to be fixed, but don’t just use Secretary Petzel as a sacrificial lamb,” Murphy said.
You can listen to the whole segment with Congressman Tim Murphy here:
You can also listen to the KDKA Afternoon News with Bill Rehkopf weekdays 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.