By Debbie Gregory.
The acting director of the Veterans Affairs Department’s investigative arm said that he will step down after facing criticism from both whistleblowers and members of Congress that he has interfered in the agency’s investigations to protect VA leadership.
Richard Griffin, appointed deputy inspector general in 2008, has served as the office’s acting head for 18 months amid allegations that he’s done little to uncover fraud and abuse in the agency. He retires after more than 43 years of federal service.
In a statement, Griffin said, “I feel truly blessed to have had the opportunity to serve with you at the VA OIG for more than 14 years and to have worked with such a dedicated team of men and women who have constantly demonstrated their courage, integrity and passionate commitment on behalf of our nation’s veterans.”
Griffin has faced harsh words from critics in recent years for ineffectiveness in dealing with VA leadership for well publicized issues such as patient wait times, overprescribing by physicians, and medical records manipulation.
Concerned Veterans for America applauded the departure of Mr. Griffin and reissued a call to the president to nominate a permanent inspector general. A bipartisan group of senators echoed that sentiment, stating that nominating a permanent VA inspector general is “long overdue” calling for the president to choose someone to take over the vacant position.
Linda Halliday, previously the assistant inspector for audits and evaluations, replaced Griffin on July 6th . Halliday holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Bridgeport (CT) and is currently a Certified Internal Auditor. She also completed the VA’s Executive Leadership Program, the Federal Executive Institute’s Executive Development Program, and American University’s Key Executive Leadership Certificate Program in the School of Public Affairs. This year, Halliday began completing executive development course work at the Harvard Business School and the John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, MA. She has worked in the inspector general’s office for the last 23 years.
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Amid Pressure, VA Inspector General Retires: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory