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Utahns react to Shinseki resignation

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Posted at 10:14 PM, May 30, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-31 00:14:46-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- A Utah man with close ties to Eric Shinseki is speaking out. Terry Schow is calling Shinseki's resignation a mistake and politically motivated.

Schow is the retired director of Utah's Department of Veterans Affairs. He believes Shinseki's departure is only going to make things worse.

"My worry is this: Number one, morale in the VA side is pretty bad right now,” Schow said. “I fear scaring veterans away because of the scheduling problems.”

Schow has personally spent time with Shinseki in Washington D.C. and Utah. News of his resignation came as a shock; Schow said his vacancy will be felt.

"I'm saddened by that because he is a man of intense integrity, twice wounded in Vietnam, a disabled veteran in his own right, rolls into the top ranks of the Army,” he said. “He was a former four star general of the Army and he's devoted his life to the country."

"It's a loss," said local veteran Frank Maughan, who is the Chair of Governor Gary Herbert's Veterans Advisory Council and who also served with Shinseki in Vietnam. He called the move politically motivated.

"My thoughts are that members of Congress have essentially dog piled the Secretary, they've taken an opportunity of piling on without having many facts,” he said.

Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz was among the politicians who called on Shinseki to step down. Senator Orrin Hatch did not.

"He's actually a very important hero in our country, and I think there's no way he wouldn't have tried to do his best, on the other hand he inherited this mess too,” Hatch said in an interview with FOX 13 News. “We've known these things, all of this administration and a lot of people have called for his resignation, I was not one of them.”

Schow's biggest worry is not just about the morale with veterans, but who takes over to fix the mess left behind.

"This problem is going to take months and millions of dollars to fix," he said.

President Obama appointed Sloan Gibson as the acting head of the VA. He's been there for just over three months as a Deputy Secretary.