By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, June 8, 2017, former Central Alabama Veterans Health Care System (CAVHCS) Director James Talton no longer works for the Alabama Department of Public Health. Talton was recently appointed Public Health Administrative Officer; but on Thursday a spokesman for the Department said that Talton no longer works there.
“Effective today, Mr. James Talton is no longer employed with the Alabama Department of Public Health. The Department wishes him well in his future endeavors.”
A number of veterans have objected to the state of Alabama hiring the first person in the nation fired by the Obama Administration for mismanagement in the VA health care scandal.
On Thursday, US Navy veteran and Rutledge Mayor Steven Phillips told The Alabama Political Reporter, “Why would anyone hire someone like James Talton that had been fired “poor performance and misconduct? …I am a Retired Senior Chief Machinist Mate who served for 26 years. I cannot for the life of me figure out how someone like that who’s total lack of leadership and management skills which resulted in his firing from the Veterans Administration is and I quote from Tom Miller the State Health Officer “a good fit for the job based on his experience.
“I for one being a veteran cannot understand how that could possibly be true. Veterans are dying due to the lack of leadership and job performance of senior administrators like this I do not understand why you would want the same for the citizens of Alabama. I do not want this kind of service for the Citizens of Rutledge Alabama. Is this the way you serve the Citizens of the State of Alabama?”
State Representative Barry Moore (R-Enterprise), who chairs the Veterans Affairs Committee in the Alabama House of Representatives, had also strongly objected to the controversial hiring of Talton.
Rep. Moore said in a statement on Thursday, “I received a call from Dr Miller ADPH director he took decisive action today. I appreciate his quick response. When we see his leadership it allows us to restore confidence in government one step at a time!”
US Representative Martha Roby (R-Montgomery), who strongly demanded that Talton be fired when he was at CAVHCS, agreed with the State’s decision to remove Talton.
“This is the right decision,” Roby said. “I worked with courageous whistleblowers to expose major wrongdoing at CAVHCS: Missing X-Rays, the crack house incident, the manipulated wait times – go down the list. There was a clear record of neglect at CAVHCS, and I wouldn’t want anyone implicated in that scandal to hold a position of public trust.”
Rep. Roby said that she declined to comment publicly upon Talton’s hiring announcement because the issue involves a non-Federal State agency.
Rep. Roby said, “As a member of Congress, it isn’t my role to tell state officials how to do their job or who they should hire. However, the history at the Central Alabama VA speaks for itself, and I believe the State made the right decision. Our work to improve veterans’ services in Central Alabama continues. In fact, I’m optimistic we can get a new, stronger VA accountability bill to the President’s desk as soon as next week.”