Obama Leaves Door Open for Shinseki Departure

Cliff Owen/AP file photo

President Obama has shown over the last six years that he is by nature reluctant to lop off heads and fire subordinates at the first sign of scandal in their agencies. But Eric Shinseki can take little encouragement from the president's comments Wednesday. Even while praising the embattled secretary of Veterans Affairs, he did seem to be nudging him toward the door.

If there was any doubt that the president is open to the possibility of changed leadership at the VA, White House press secretary Jay Carney dispelled it at his daily briefing when he said that was "a fair reading" of what the president said. If the current allegations prove to be true, said Carney, "There should be consequences. He made that clear to Secretary Shinseki."

At the least, Obama did not rule out the possibility that the secretary may make his own decision to head for the exit. Referring to him informally as "Ric," the president almost seemed to be inviting Shinseki to leave. He said that Shinseki's "attitude is, if he does not think he can do a good job on this and if he thinks he's let our veterans down, then I'm sure that he is not going to be interested in continuing to serve." He quickly added that Shinseki "is committed to solving the problem and working with us" on getting to the bottom of the allegations. But that, he said rather ominously, was "at this stage."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.