President makes VA secretary selection; Manchin looks for answers at Clarksburg VA

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. — A former CEO of Procter & Gamble is President Barack Obama’s nominee to be the next U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs. If confirmed, Robert “Bob” A. McDonald will replace Eric Shinseki who resigned in June amid reports of widespread bureaucratic problems and mismanagement within the VA.

U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) called McDonald’s selection “encouraging.”

“Here’s a hardcore, really, a hardcore military person who came through West Point, rose to captain very quickly within his five years of service in the military to become a CEO — starting at the bottom — at Procter & Gamble,” Manchin said.

“I think he’s the right mentality, the right type of person with the commitment to our veterans that we need.”

Manchin was a guest on Monday’s MetroNews “Talkline” en route to a meeting with officials at the Louis A. Johnson Medical Center in Clarksburg — one of the four VA hospitals in West Virginia. An audit released in early June showed the average wait time for new patients seeking a primary care doctor at the facility was 54 days, though center officials disputed that number.

“I’ve just got to make sure that we’re getting our money’s worth and we’re doing it as well, if not better, than anyone else can do it,” Manchin said of his Clarksburg visit. “The greatest service we can give is to our veterans who have given us the life we have in America, so why shouldn’t we have the best? Why shouldn’t we give them the most efficient service?”

According the national VA audit, the wait time for new patients is 47 days at Martinsburg’s VA Center, 39 days in Beckley and just under 29 days in Huntington while the wait time is under 60 days at the VA Center in Pittsburgh and just more than 38 days in Washington, D.C.

In addition to four VA hospitals, there are nine VA clinics in West Virginia.

President Obama was expected to announce McDonald’s nomination on Monday afternoon. McDonald, 61, retired from Procter & Gamble last June. He first started working for the company in 1980. McDonald is a decorated U.S. Army captain.

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