Forcing out Shinseki won’t solve problems
So, embattled Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki has resigned. He was convicted by the media, without any investigation of his role in this scandal or any sort of due process. In other words, nothing unusual happened.
I’m sorry, but I do not buy this whole “just because you are in charge, you are responsible for others’ incompetence” theory. If Shinseki can be linked directly to any of the policies that caused the problems, then he should go. But firing people or forcing them to resign just because they are the head of the department in question is just a way of making everyone feel better, even though nothing useful was done to fix the situation.
Some people will say, “he’s the department head; how can he not know?” Such people have probably never led any sort of group, let alone an organization as large as the VA. In fact, it’s very easy to not know what underlings are sometimes doing. Department heads are not psychic. If they are not told, then there is a good chance that in any large organization, they won’t know about it. And since the VA problems have been going on for decades, it might not have been obvious to the higher ups that there was a big problem. But that’s why we have investigations and due process, not symbolic firings and resignations that do nothing to relieve the situation.