- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 13, 2017

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The director of the Missouri Veterans Commission resigned Wednesday amid months of complaints about care at the St. Louis Veterans Home and mounting pressure for a change in leadership.

New commission chairman Tim Noonan announced Executive Director Larry Kay’s resignation after an hours-long closed meeting that included a discussion with the former director. The meeting came just days after Republican Gov. Eric Greitens on Monday appointed Noonan and four other new commission members and said they should fire both Kay and the home’s administrator.

Kay did not immediately respond to a request from The Associated Press for comment after the late-night meeting.

Noonan thanked Kay for this time as director but said he made a “great decision” to step down.

Commissioners hired Missouri Air National Guard Col. Grace Link to be interim director. It’s now her responsibility to decide whether to fire Administrator Rolando Carter, who’s on administrative leave. Noonan said commissioners didn’t discuss Carter’s firing with Link.

Kay’s departure follows months of allegations from some veterans’ families and staff of low morale, medication issues and neglect at the facility.

Carter previously told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that most complaints were “very minor in nature” and said steps have been taken to address concerns, including daily checkups on veterans by nurses and administrators and the addition of a guest service director. Several previous reviews didn’t turn up any wrongdoing.

But Greitens last month called for an independent investigation by a Massachusetts nursing home consultant, which found substandard care at the St. Louis home. That prompted Greitens’ calls for a leadership shakeup.

Noonan did not answer questions about whether Kay will receive a severance package.

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This story has been updated to correct the first reference to Rolando Carter, who had been referred to erroneously as Rolando Kay.

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