VA botches demotions of execs who misused authority for personal gain, bonuses
I try not to let governmental failures get to me too much but this one just pushes my ‘Berserk’ button:
“It seems VA’s incompetence knows no bounds,” said Rep. Jeff Miller, R- Fla., who chairs the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. “By now, it’s clear to nearly every objective observer that VA’s top officials don’t know how to properly discipline employees. What remains unclear, however, is whether they are even interested in doing so.”
The VA Inspector General’s office issued a report in September finding that Rubens and Graves had “inappropriately used their positions of authority for personal and financial benefit” by arranging the transfer of subordinates whose jobs they wanted and then volunteering for the vacancies.
Rubens became director of Veterans Benefits Administration’s Philadelphia and Wilmington VA regional offices and received $274,019.12 for relocation expenses. Graves became director of the VBA’s St. Paul (Minn.) regional office, with relocation pay of $129,467.56. The program has been suspended.
Both women maintained their senior executive salaries after transferring to these less demanding jobs. Their predecessors also received relocation costs totaling $60,000, the report found.
The report had recommended that the VA deputy secretary consult with the VA’s Office of General Counsel to determine whether Rubens and Graves should have to repay their relocation expenses. Miller said last week that he’d been informed that the VA’s top lawyer determined the agency did not have the legal authority to recoup the money even after acknowledging that the women had abused their offices.
On Monday, Miller introduced a bill that would allow the VA secretary to recoup relocation expenses paid to any VA employee at any time if the secretary deems it necessary, and would require that any appeal by that employee be decided by a third-party federal entity.
Hopefully, Congressman Miller’s bill gets passed, because the DoVA badly needs to have a bevvy of incompetent and corrupt employees flushed out.