Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Bay Pines VA hospital gets new director

The chief of Department of Veterans Affairs facilities in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico is taking over as director of the Bay Pines VA Medical Center in St. Petersburg, the agency announced Monday.

Wanda Mims, 53, director of the VA's Caribbean Health Care System since 2009, will take over Bay Pines' top job as soon as her replacement is selected, Bay Pines spokeswoman Faith Belcher said.

Bay Pines is the nation's fourth-largest veterans hospital and serves 97,000 veterans with a budget of about $600 million. Bay Pines' 3,800 employees oversee numerous VA facilities from Naples to Palm Harbor.

Bay Pines director Wallace Hopkins retired April 1 after 35 years with the agency.

Mims has worked for the VA for 14 years and has held positions at agency facilities in Ohio, Virginia and Kentucky. She served four years in the Marine Corps after her enlistment at 17 and has a master's degree in business administration.

Mims comes to a facility that has faced allegations in recent years that it retaliated against employees who filed workplace discrimination complaints.

A federal judge in November 2009 issued a strong rebuke of Bay Pines officials after four employees, including three doctors, won a $3.7 million verdict over allegations that Bay Pines illegally retaliated against them. The four women had filed several workplace complaints, including allegations that their gender hindered advancement at Bay Pines.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Tom McCoun ordered Bay Pines leaders, including Hopkins, to undergo remedial instruction on workplace retaliation.

The judge, who also barred Bay Pines from further discrimination or retaliation against its employees, noted that none of Bay Pines' leaders was dismissed or reprimanded after the verdict.

"Indeed, it appears that no changes have been made at all at Bay Pines VA in response to the verdicts in this case," McCoun said in his order.

William R. Levesque can be reached at or (813) 226-3432.

Bay Pines VA hospital gets new director 07/18/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 19, 2011 12:31am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. James Wilder Jr. back at running Canada


    Remember when former Plant High star and Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. announced he was switching to linebacker?

    That was short-lived, apparently.

  2. Unlicensed contractor accused of faking death triggers policy change at Pinellas construction licensing board

    Local Government

    The unlicensed contractor accused of faking his death to avoid angry homeowners has triggered an immediate change in policy at the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  3. What you need to know for Tuesday, June 27


    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    Former St. Petersburg mayor and current mayoral candidate Rick Baker, left, and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman square off tonight in a debate. [Times]
  4. Once 'angry' about Obamacare, Republican David Jolly came to see it as 'safety net'


    Former Congressman David Jolly, who ran against Obamacare in 2013, said in an interview Monday night that he now considers it a "safety net."

  5. Five children hospitalized after chlorine release at Tampa pool store


    Five children were sickened at a pool store north of Tampa on Monday after a cloud of chlorine was released, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.