Leadership

VA chief of staff resigns

revolving door

The revolving door keeps swinging at the Veterans Affairs Department. John Gingrich, the chief of staff, has announced plans to leave the agency by March 31 after decades in public service.

Gingrich made his announcement in a memo to staff, saying he had discussed his plans with Secretary Eric Shinseki earlier this year, according to Federal News Radio. Gingrich was named VA chief of staff in January 2009, after serving as president at consulting firm Strategic LINX, Inc.

Right before his private-sector career, Gingrich served in the Senior Executive Service as director for U.S. Army Strategic Communications Initiatives in the Office of the Chief of Staff of the Army from 2000 to 2003. His military career stretches back to 1971, when he was first commissioned a second lieutenant in Army artillery.

Gingrich’s government career has not been without controversy. In October 2012, lawmakers called for his removal in the wake of an inspector general report noting VA’s over-the-top conference spending. The department spent about $6 million for two conferences in 2011, after Gingrich had green-lighted an $8 million budget for three events.

In a statement to the IG, Gingrich owned up to his mistakes. "I signed the thing authorizing the conferences," he wrote to investigators. "So, I should have made sure the conferences were executed better. … And, I take the full responsibility. And I should have asked, probably, harder questions than I did."

Gingrich becomes the latest official in a string of recent high-profile departures from VA. Roger Baker, VA CIO, announced Feb. 15 his plans to step down. A few days later, news broke that VA CTO Peter Levin was also leaving. Additionally, VA earlier this year lost Jerry Davis, deputy assistant secretary for information security, who headed to NASA's Ames Research Center to become CIO.

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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