Since Trump’s inauguration, the VA has removed 526 employees, demoted 27, and placed 194 on suspension for over 2 weeks, as reported by PJ Media. VA Secretary Dr. David Shulkin released a list of the “Adverse Actions” in July- no names, just positions and locations. He stated it would be updated weekly. It’s a step in the right direction, but only a step.
On June 23, President Trump signed the VA reform bill that made firing bad employees faster.
“Under this administration, VA is committed to becoming the most transparent organization in government. Veterans and taxpayers have a right to know what we’re doing to hold our employees accountable and make our personnel actions transparent…Posting this information online for all to see, and updating it weekly, will do just that.” VA Secretary David Shulkin statement
The VA Secretary was appalled that firing bad employees was so difficult. When one employee at the Michael DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Houston [VISN 17] was caught viewing pornography in full view of a veteran, Shulkin was incensed. Then when he learned he couldn’t immediately fire that employee…he was livid.
“I need the authority as secretary to remove these people immediately… Employees who don’t show up to work, who do cocaine, and who are watching porn at work, are gonna be fired, because I’m not gonna tolerate it.” David Shulkin
From employees with a felony arrests that were accused of theft to those responsible for maggots in a veteran’s wounds, firing anyone has been a chore for leadership, and in most cases they couldn’t do anything. But things are changing, and it appears that the wheels are turning in favor of our veterans.
The previous VA Secretary, Robert McDonald, claimed to have fired 900 employees, but it was learned that the majority of them were probationary employees who had barely started working there. It was his way of getting around the rules. Shulkin pressed the Trump administration to change those rules.
After no less than 17 major VA scandals in recent years, it was time for something good to happen.
“We applaud the Secretary for his continued dedication toward cleaning up the toxic VA culture, and veterans look forward to seeing results.” Dan Caldwell, Concerned Veterans of America policy director