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Two senior VA officials stepping down

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Two senior Veterans Affairs Department officials will be stepping down this week as a personnel overhaul continues in the wake of the resignation of former VA secretary Eric K. Shinseki.

Will Gunn, who has served as VA general counsel since 2009, will be stepping down from a job he’s held since the start of the Obama administration. And Robert Jesse, currently the acting undersecretary for the Veterans Health Administration, will be stepping down and rejoining the department’s medical ranks.

The forthcoming changes are according to two people familiar with the shakeup who were not authorized to speak publicly about them. A formal announcement of the departures is expected later Wednesday or Thursday, the two people said.

Jesse will be replaced by Carolyn Clancy, who currently serves as the assistant deputy secretary for quality, safety and value.

Jesse and Clancy have been serving in place of former undersecretary Robert Petzel, who had announced plans to retire but stepped down in May, sooner than scheduled, amid the ongoing uproar over allegations of mismanaged and delayed care across the VA system. President Obama had nominated Jeffrey Murawsky to succeed Petzel, but Murawsky later withdrew his name.

The ongoing shake-up means that there is only one permanent undersecretary in place – Allison Hickey, who serves as undersecretary for veterans’ benefits. All other top officials – including the acting secretary, Sloan Gibson – are serving in temporary acting roles.