The failed attempts to take disciplinary action against the two Veteran Affairs directors illustrates just how broken the VA is as an organization. The two women have been accused of manipulating the promotion system of the VA to their advantage and walking away with $400,000 in “moving costs.” They reportedly moved personnel around and then occupied the vacant positions in order to collect the moving costs.
There were attempts in both December 2015 and January 2016 to reassign both of the directors. However, as of Monday, a final decision was made to allow these directors with questionable ethics to keep their jobs.
The Merit Systems Protection Board rejected that attempt, and on Monday VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson in a statement said the pair would be allowed to continue their careers in Minnesota and Pennsylvania.
“Allegations of unethical behavior in the Inspector General report were not supported by any of the evidence I reviewed,” Gibson said. “These errors in judgment took place before [the two] assumed their director positions, and the disciplinary actions do not diminish the confidence VA leadership has in [their] abilities … to manage their offices, lead their employees, and provide benefits to veterans. Military Times
This isn’t the first time SOFREP has covered this story. However, a final decision was not yet made at the time the article was written. If the VA senior leadership allows their directors to keep their jobs after they pocket $400,000, what does that say about the VA system? This fraud and abuse is only hurting the veterans the VA is responsible for helping. That money could have provided a lot of medical care or medications to veterans.
Moving forward to take care of veterans
Department officials and lawmakers are discussing new legislation that could make it easier to discipline and fire VA executives by removing appeals options on such job actions, but that proposal has received strong resistance from groups representing the senior workers.
VA Secretary Bob McDonald is expected to appear before the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee on Tuesday morning to discuss the department’s fiscal 2017 budget request, and is likely to face questioning about the decisions in the Rubens and Graves cases. Military Times
How can the VA move forward to take care of veterans when the foundation it has been built on is cracked and broken?
Here is an interesting SOFREP article on how to fix the VA system.
Image courtesy of Military Times