SEMINOLE — The Marine Corps veteran who was picked to become the new director of the Bay Pines VA Medical Center won't be taking the job after all.
Bay Pines staff were notified this week that Wanda Mims would remain in Puerto Rico, where she has been the director of the VA's Caribbean Health Care System since 2009. Bay Pines officials confirmed the news.
Why Mims is staying in Puerto Rico is unclear. Officials at the Pinellas medical facility, one of the nation's busiest veterans hospitals, didn't say. Mims did not return a call for comment on Thursday.
The director's job will be re-advertised and a new search for a permanent director begun anew, regional VA officials told Bay Pines staff on Monday. Director Wallace Hopkins retired on April 1.
It was in July that Mims' appointment was announced by Bay Pines in a news release that said she would start her new job as soon as her replacement was selected.
Mims has worked at 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 enlisting at age 17 and has a master's degree in business administration.
Under Hopkins, Bay Pines was chastised by a federal judge in 2009 after four of its 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.
William R. Levesque can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3432.