Lawmakers Outraged That VA Official Of Mangled Project Will Retire With Full Benefits
Glenn D. Haggstrom, a top construction official responsible for overseeing the hospital fiasco in Aurora, Colo., resigned from the VA on Wednesday with full benefits.
After working for the department for over 6 years, Haggstrom decided it was time to step down—right during the middle of an internal VA investigation on cost overruns relating to the construction of the Colorado hospital in Aurora.
“The situation regarding the construction of a replacement VA medical center in Aurora, Colorado is unacceptable to Veterans, taxpayers and Department leadership,” a statement from the VA read. “Effective today, Glenn Haggstrom, Principal Executive Director of the Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction (OALC), is no longer an employee of VA.”
Recently, the Aurora facility came to the forefront again when it became clear that more funds are needed for the project to be seen to completion. The new total cost estimation as of last week is now $1.73 billion dollars, which is double the amount proposed as an estimation in 2010. The project is now $1 billion over budget and nowhere near completion.
That hasn’t stopped the VA from asking for $930 million to finish the project. (RELATED: VA Hospital In Shambles, Executives Beg For More Money From Congress)
Meanwhile, Haggstrom is retiring with full benefits, which House Veterans’ Affairs Committee chairman Republican Rep. Jeff Miller thinks is appalling. According to Miller, Haggstrom should have been outright fired years ago, and in fact, the chairman put out the call earlier this month for the department to fire Haggstrom.
“Though Glenn Haggstrom may have tried to do a good job at VA, he certainly did not succeed,” Miller said in a statement. “What’s most disappointing about this situation, however, is that Haggstrom left on his own terms – with a lifetime pension – even though any reasonable person would conclude that he should have been fired years ago. VA’s entire construction program is a disaster and has been for years.”
Miller stated that although leadership in the VA knew of construction problems in Aurora, none decided to fire Haggstrom after all this time. For Miller, “that speaks volumes about the department’s commitment to accountability.”
Republican Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado pointed to the almost $64,000 dollars worth of bonuses that Haggstrom received as indicative of just how bad the VA is at mismanagement.
“He should have been fired years ago, and his ill-gotten bonuses should be rescinded,” Coffman, a Marine Corps commbat veteran, said in a statement. “This personnel move is years late and billions of dollars in cost overruns short.”
The Aurora project is the single most expensive hospital by far in VA history, and lawmakers are still perplexed as to why the VA is even in the business of building medical centers.
The Office of Personnel Management did not return The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment by press time, as to the total dollar amount of the benefits for which Haggstrom is eligible.
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