YOU’RE FIRED! Trump’s VA Terminates 500, Suspends 200 For Misconduct
July 9, 2017
Five hundred and forty-eight Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employees have been terminated since President Donald Trump took office, indicating that his campaign pledge to clean up “probably the most incompetently run agency in the United States” by relentlessly putting his TV catch phrase “you’re fired” into action was more than just empty rhetoric.
Another 200 VA workers were suspended and 33 demoted, according to data newly published by the department as part of VA Secretary David Shulkin’s commitment to greater transparency. Those disciplined include 22 senior leaders, more than 70 nurses, 14 police officers, and 25 physicians.
Also disciplined were a program analyst dealing with the Government Accountability Office, which audits the department, a public affairs specialist, a chief of police and a chief of surgery.
Many housekeeping aides and food service workers — lower-level jobs in which the department has employed felons and convicted sex offenders — were also fired.
Scores of veterans have died waiting for care while VA bureaucrats falsified data to procure monetary bonuses, but fixes have been slow to come by largely because the union that represents VA employees has used its political muscle with Democrats to emphasize job security for government employees.
Former President Barack Obama originally appointed Shulkin as a VA undersecretary. By the end of the Obama administration, however, Shulkin had grown increasingly frustrated with the American Federation of Government Employees union and other groups defending bad employees’ supposed right to a government check even when they hurt veterans.
Shulkin asked for new legislation that reduces the role of MSPB, especially when firing senior leaders. Congress passed the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act in answer, and Trump signed the bill in June.
There were five firings in the Veterans Health Administration Central Office, including one senior leader. There were also two in the Office of General Counsel, and one in the office of Congressional and Legislative affairs.
During the Obama administration, McDonald lamented that in the private sector “you cut a deal with the employee and you’re able to buy them out,” but said you cannot do that in government.
Yet VA repeatedly made five and six-figure payments to bad employees to get them to quit after they threatened to gum up the works by appealing disciplinary actions. The department even allowed Hamlin to offer a low-level employee $300,000 to quit after she refused to help management retaliate against a whistleblower who exposed Hamlin’s arrest.
The agency paid more than $5 million in settlements to employees under McDonald, which had the effect of encouraging bad employees to relentlessly appeal and make unsupported charges of discrimination when they were targeted for discipline, in an often-successful attempt to convert punishment into reward.
Shulkin said he “will look to settle with employees only when they clearly have been wronged … and not as a matter of ordinary business.”
Read the entire article HERE.
There is a problem according to some articles that posting a listing of firings by the VA is basically a violation of Labor practices which could lead to challenges. An example of concerns is an article written in MyStatesmen:
“As part of a push for increased transparency, the Department of Veterans Affairs on Friday released a list of nearly 700 employees who have been fired, suspended or demoted since January. The VA didn’t publish the names of the fired workers, reason for their discipline or the facility where they worked.
The list is an initiative from the newly created VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection, created by an executive order from President Donald Trump in April and made permanent in recently adopted legislation.
In a statement to the American-Statesman on Friday, J. David Cox, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, called the public listing of disciplined employees an intimidation tactic.”
Comments on a few sites have those with experience in such matters as Human Resources and labor laws presenting reasonable explanations on why they believed this public posting is going to be a problem as well. We can only wait to see the outcome of this part of the issue.
More than a few let go have been caught in criminal acts and in other activities. Their cases are pending. They have gotten a free ride and provided little service for years. In order to fire them, we taxpayers have forked over a lot in severance payments and paid time off during appeals litigation for a long time. Those needing help–vets, families, and current military–have suffered for their incompetence. With the new act making firing of employees easier, this will hopefully end.
Veterans with experience as well as public healthcare workers who really want to help make a difference in lives should consider the positions. Caring, focused workers looking for employment from IT to management to healthcare professionals are needed. Check out their website.
There may be questions on issues but frankly keeping promises is just as important. Our vets have at some locations and under some administrators been treated poorly. Audits have for years pointed out problems and noted recommendations but little occurred to change the status quo. Our military and vets have not deserved the injustices received from being ignored, bad-mouthed, forced into long wait times, stolen drugs and equipment, or poor service. Mostly the unions are hyperventilating but they would.
Another successful move forward on the Trump train efforts to turn our country back from third-rate to first again.