BRISTOL, R.I. (WPRI) — Brigadier Gen. Rick Baccus has stepped down as administrator of the cash-strapped Rhode Island Veterans Home in Bristol.
“It has come time for me to retire and take the opportunity to pursue other professional and personal opportunities, to include enjoying my family obligations,” Baccus wrote in his resignation letter submitted on Thursday to Veterans Affairs Director Kasim Yarn.
Baccus said 2020 marks his fiftieth year in public service, 18th in service of the state and 11th as head of the veterans home.
“I have always done my best for the veterans who are residents of the Home,” he added.
The facility has been under much scrutiny in recent months, having made a series of operational changes due to financial problems. The state is currently trying to close a $2 million deficit at the home.
Some of the changes included physical and occupational therapy no longer being covered by the home and visitors no longer being allowed to eat food prepared by the staff.
Just before Christmas, the home unveiled a proposal to tap into the estates of veterans who died without wills.
Gov. Gina Raimondo has been critical of the facility’s management.
“General Baccus has spent his entire life in service to our country and our state, and we owe him an enormous debt of gratitude,” Raimondo spokesman Josh Block said in a statement Friday. “The Governor appreciates General Baccus’ willingness to stay on and ensure a smooth transition as we continue the difficult work of ensuring our veterans home has the resources it needs.”
Baccus plans to begin his transition leave in 60 days to give the state time to find his replacement.