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Monday, Nov 24, 2014
Letter of the Day

To save the VA, turn to Romney

Published:

The ongoing VA scandal has aroused a typhoon of controversy and is now running in high gear. With the most recent VA audit that found more than 57,000 U.S. vets had been waiting 90 days or more for their first medical appointment, the mounting evidence leaning toward the substantial incompetency within its official ranks does not only have our honored veterans in an uproar, but it’s also created a firestorm within our entire country as well.

The VA inspector general’s office found “systemic” under-reporting of lengthy wait times for veterans awaiting medical care. As a result, there has been a public outcry at the deaths of multiple veterans. Subsequently, the VA director, Eric Shinseki, stepped down, and Deputy VA Secretary Sloan Gibson has taken over temporarily while the White House searches for a new head for the agency.

As a veteran and an employee at James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, I have been examining the facts and performed some personal due diligence in order to find and recommend a suitable replacement. And not to my surprise, I uncovered one of the soundest businessmen in the country who has the acumen to straighten out the massive disarray of the ailing and broken veteran’s administration.

This individual is a graduate of Harvard’s law and business school. Shortly after graduation, he turned around a private investment firm that became highly profitable and was one of the largest such firms in the nation, with the highly successful development of well-known companies such as Staples, Sports Authority and Domino’s Pizza, just to name a few.

According to a Los Angeles Times article, in 1999 and prior to the 2002 winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, the organizers at that time faced a $379 million deficit. This astute entrepreneur took over as committee president and immediately cut the budget by $200 million, signed new sponsors and, in addition, raised millions of dollars. That Olympics sold $183 million in tickets. By comparison, Nagano, Japan, sold $80 million in 1998.

After the smoke cleared, the games generated a whopping $56 million overall surplus.

Despite losing his bid for president in 2012 to Barack Obama, this problem-solving, faith-based, turnaround expert is a living testament to a first-rate directorial and logistical planner and is probably one of the few gifted individuals today who can reverse the immense problems facing the beleaguered VA.

As a concerned veteran, and one who receives care at Haley VA, I firmly believe that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney should be called upon to undertake this challenge. If he were to accept, he could very well be that knight in shining armor called in to save an organization that is in deep disarray and in serious organizational distress.

Time is running short, our veterans’ patience is running thin and the problems continue to persist. That said, every one of our vets deserves only the best care possible — and Mitt could be the one who could do it.

President Obama, wake up and give him a call today!

Michael Merino

Tampa

The writer is program support assistant, spinal cord injury, at James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa.

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