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Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Sen. Tester: Hiring Delays For Montana VA Director 'Completely Unacceptable'

Sen. Jon Tester (D) Montana
Courtesy photo

It's been eight months since the Montana VA had a permanent director and Senator Jon Tester says he's fed up with the delay.

Tester fired-off a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald this week calling it "completely unacceptable".

The Democrat says he only recently found out that a hire was imminent about three months ago. However,  the Office of Management and Budget found a "screw-up" that scuttled the process.

"They went through the hiring process, they interviewed folks and they came up with the person they wanted, Tester explained. "It's been a lengthy process and OMB said, 'Time out, the person's qualifications don't match the job description. Now you've got two things; either change the job description or you've got to find a person with different credentials.'"

Tester will serve as the ranking member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs this congressional session. He says he won't hesitate to use that position to break this hiring logjam.

"At that point in time I can get their attention with money, but until we can get that MILCON subcommittee going, I can only threaten to get their attention with money."

John Ginnity is currently serving as interim director of VA Montana Health Care System.

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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