VA director listens to host of concerns, recommended firings

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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

There could soon be a leadership shakeup at the troubled Phoenix VA Hospital.

The National Department of Veterans Affairs is recommending the removal of three senior officials, including the chief of staff.

It's important to note, this is only a recommendation and those employees have the right to appeal.

This comes as we have been digging into problem after problem inside the medical center. And on Tuesday, whistleblowers met with the director and then spoke about it. 

"Stunned, to say the least, that we actually got the director who was willing to sit down and make things happen in such a quick manner," said VA Manager Dean Trulock. He described the reaction of the more than two dozen employees who sat down with VA Director Deborah Amdur to express grave concerns about practices inside the hospital. "Hiring, Veterans Choice programs, accountability and responsibility throughout the VA," Trulock said of the concerns addressed. 

Trulock risked his job two weeks ago when he came forward and spoke about the need to make improvements for veterans and employees who he says have been ignored by senior leadership for years.

"We've been waiting too long for the cavalry basically to come and rescue us from this crisis that keeps deepening in some areas," he said. "Unfortunately the cavalry has never showed up for us to help fix the issue."

Now, he's cautiously optimistic with Director Amdur's immediate response to the countless claims. "She renewed her commitment to us, her and the Associate Director both renewed their commitment to us and said they want to work with us to find solutions for this facility," Trulock said. 

Original whistleblower Brandon Coleman says it's a much-needed response, but he's just hopeful the managers live up to their promises. "These brave whistleblowers that have come forward to highlight the scheduling conflicts and the thousands of appointments that are being canceled and that veterans continue to die and that we could have stopped it. I hope that their voices are heard," he said. 

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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