Wallace Hopkins, the beleaguered director of the Bay Pines Veterans Administration Hospital in St. Petersburg has announced he will retire once the Department of Veterans Affairs finds a replacement. Hopkins, age 64, will end his 35-year career under a cloud.
His tenure at Bay Pines has been marred by a string of retaliation suits filed by employees.
In 2009, Hopkins and other staffers received a tongue-lashing from federal Judge Tom McCoun after a jury handed down a $3.7 million verdict in favor of four female doctors who claimed retaliation. The doctors won their case after complaining that, under Hopkins, women had fewer opportunities for advancement than men.
McCoun said he feared that despite the huge jury award, nothing had changed at the hospital. In particular, he bemoaned the fact that Hopkins and other topkept their jobs despite the huge payout.
Under terms of the agreement, the hospital was forced to train supervisors about gender discrimination and retaliation.
But sex discrimination hasn’t been the only cloud over Bay Pines. The facility now faces a retaliation lawsuit from some of its police force members. That case is pending in federal court.