WASHINGTON — The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Tuesday it has picked a new director for its embattled regional office in Reno.
Shelia A. Jackson, a veteran official in the department, is expected to start in Reno by Sept. 30, according to the agency. For the past three years she has been assistant director of the Los Angeles Regional Benefit Office.
“I am pleased the VA has chosen a permanent director for the Reno VARO (VA Regional Office), which I have been pushing for since last year,” said Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev. “I look forward to working with Ms. Jackson and will do everything within my power to hold her accountable to ensure Nevada’s veterans receive the care and benefits they were promised in a timely manner.”
Heller said he was informed of the move Monday by VA Undersecretary Allison Hickey.
“I look forward to welcoming Ms. Shelia Jackson to Nevada and working with her on behalf of Nevada’s veterans,” said Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev. “With her 20 years of experience in the Army and her dedicated service to the VA, she should be able to turn the Reno Regional Office into one of the highest performing offices in the VBA.”
Titus, who has lobbied the VA to relocate its regional office to Las Vegas, said she is encouraging Jackson to boost benefits resources in Southern Nevada.
Heller and Titus sit on congressional veterans affairs committees and were pushing the VA to change leadership in Reno which had one of the slowest response times on handling benefits claims.
Jackson has served as assistant director of the Los Angeles office since October 2012, and now is on temporary assignment as the acting director of the San Juan VA Regional Office, according to the VA. She held several posts within the St. Paul regional office between 2001 and 2012.
Before joining the VA, Jackson served 20 years in the Army including postings to bases in Alabama and Kansas.
The department said she has “significant executive-level experience” with the agency and holds a master’s degree in business administration and a bachelor’s degree in business management.
The outpost that processes disability claims for veterans in Nevada and several counties in Northern California has been led by several interim directors since July 2014. Its last permanent director was reassigned after Heller and Titus complained about his performance and said he was unresponsive.