VA Deputy Secretary Scott Gould leaving

Friday - 4/26/2013, 1:27pm EDT

((UPDATED:: This story was updated April 29 to include a statement from VA Secretary Eric Shinseki and remarks Gould made in an email to staff obtained by Federal News Radio.)

Scott Gould, the deputy secretary of the Veterans Affairs Department, will leave his post May 17.

Scott Gould (Courtesy of VA)

"We have accomplished great things together including increasing access for veterans, decreased homelessness among veterans, and improved departmental management," Gould wrote in an email to staff obtained by Federal News Radio. "There is more work to do to achieve our goals — under Secretary Shinseki's leadership, I know the department is well-positioned to accomplish those goals. After four years of intense and rewarding public service, I am ready for the next stage in my private sector career.

VA Secretary Eric Shinseki praised Gould's "advocacy and dedication" in a statement released April 29.

"His unwavering leadership and dedication to veterans and their families has strengthened our ability to carry out VA's mission — providing veterans the healthcare and benefits they have earned," Shinseki said.

Gould becomes the latest VA senior official to head for the door. Chief of Staff John Gingrich retired March 31 after 37 years in government. Roger Baker, the assistant secretary in the Office of Information and Technology and chief information officer, returned to industry earlier this month after leaving the agency in early March. And Peter Levin, the VA chief technology officer, left the agency in March as well.

But Gould's departure, while not surprising, is probably the biggest of all. He ran the day-to-day operations of VA, both on the management side and the interagency efforts with the Defense Department, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and many others.

Gould played a big role in trying to improve the relationship between labor and management, serving on the National Council on Federal Labor Management Relations and overseeing efforts to test out B-1 bargaining pilots to standardize skill levels of all agency vocational rehabilitation counselors.

The Senate confirmed Gould in April 2009 to add to an already long-federal career. He served in the Navy on the guided missile destroyer Richard E. Byrd and as a Naval intelligence reservist.

During his federal career, Gould also was the chief financial officer and assistant secretary for administration at the Commerce Department, deputy assistant secretary for finance and management at the Treasury Department, and served as a White House fellow.

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