President Trump’s VA Shakedown: 500 Fired, 200 Suspended For Conduct
On Friday, The Department of Veterans made public a list of employee terminations, demotions, and suspensions. It has expressed that this list week be updated weekly in an effort to add more transparency to the department following Congresses’ push to increase the scope of power by the VA secretary.
President Trump expressed his frustration with the VA back on the campaign trail, stating that the VA was “probably the most incompetently run agency in the United States.”
The bulk of firings were directed at lower level VA workers, such as house keepers and food service workers, after learning that initial oversight was not implemented. Many of these employees were discovered to be felons, sex offenders, or generally incompetent. This has lead to poor care, and at times death from neglect, for our veterans.
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“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.