VA Employee Disciplinary Actions Are Now Public Information

news
Photo via Department of Veterans Affairs

The Department of Veterans Affairs made public July 7 a list of employee terminations, demotions, and suspensions that it will update weekly, which agency officials said is an attempt at transparency following action by Congress to give the VA secretary unprecedented disciplinary power.


Veterans and anyone else interested can now see a list of disciplinary actions taken against VA employees since President Donald Trump took office Jan. 20. The list can be found at va.gov/accountability.

“Veterans and taxpayers have a right to know what we’re doing to hold our employees accountable and make our personnel actions transparent,” VA Secretary David Shulkin said in written statement. “Posting this information online for all to see, and updating it weekly, will do just that.”

The list, posted online Friday, contained the occupation, VA region, the date and type of disciplinary action for approximately 800 VA employees disciplined since Jan. 20. For privacy reasons, the VA is not posting employees’ names.

The initiative is part of the new VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection that Trump created in April with an executive order. Navy and Air Force veteran Peter O’Rourke is directing the office and advising Shulkin on the discipline of VA managers and employees.

Shulkin gained more firing authority after Trump signed legislation June 23 establishing more repercussions and a faster firing process for VA employees. Trump, Shulkin, and many veterans and supporters of the legislation said the new rules would allow the VA to root out poor-performing employees and a perceived culture of corruption in the department.

The VA’s move to make disciplinary action public information will “shine a light on the actions we’re taking to reform the culture at VA,” Shulkin said in the statement.

Shulkin also announced Friday that he would require a senior VA official to approve employee settlement agreements of more than $5,000.

Members of Congress expressed skepticism last year that the VA was overusing employee settlements to silence whistleblowers. A congressional inquiry found the VA had paid $5 million to settle disciplinary action disagreements between July 2014 and September 2016, Federal News Radio reported at the time.

Shulkin said the VA would settle with employees “only when they clearly have been wronged or when settlement is otherwise in veterans’ and taxpayers’ best interests.” “We’re changing to a culture of accountability at VA, and this is an important step in that direction,” he said.

———

©2017 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

WATCH NEXT:

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs paid $13,000 over a three-month period for a senior official's biweekly commute to Washington from his home in California, according to expense reports obtained by ProPublica.

Read More Show Less
Saturday Night Live/screenshot

President Donald Trump said that "retribution" should be "looked into" after this week's opening skit of Saturday Night Live featured Alec Baldwin being mean to him again.

Read More Show Less
Staff Sgt. John Eller conducts pre-flights check on his C-17 Globemaster III Jan. 3 prior to taking off from Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii for a local area training mission. Sgt. Eller is a loadmaster from the 535th Airlift Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Tech. Sgt. Shane A. Cuomo)

CUCUTA, Colombia — The Trump administration ratcheted up pressure Saturday on beleaguered Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, dispatching U.S. military planes filled with humanitarian aid to this city on the Venezuelan border.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan speaks at the annual Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany February 15, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert

ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (Reuters) - Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Saturday he had not yet determined whether a border wall with Mexico was a military necessity or how much Pentagon money would be used.

President Donald Trump on Friday declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval.

Read More Show Less
A pair of U.S. Navy Grumman F-14A Tomcat aircraft from Fighter Squadron VF-211 Fighting Checkmates in flight over Iraq in 2003/Department of Defense

Since the sequel to the 1986 action flick (and wildly successful Navy recruitment tool) Top Gun, was announced, there's been a lot of speculation on what Top Gun: Maverick will be about when it premieres in June 2020. While the plot is still relatively unclear, we know Tom Cruise will reprise his role as Naval aviator Pete "Maverick" Mitchell, and he'll be joined by a recognizable costar: The iconic F-14 Tomcat.

It looks like the old war plane will be coming out of retirement for more than just a cameo. A number of recently surfaced photos show an F-14 Tomcat aboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, alongside Cruise and members of the film's production crew, the Drive's Tyler Rogoway first reported earlier this week.

Read More Show Less