President Donald Trump is expected to sign an order that will “help the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to discipline or terminate VA managers or employees who fail to carry out their duties in helping our veterans,” according to a source providing information to The Daily Caller News Foundation (DCNF) via text.
President Trump is expected to sign an executive order establishing the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to discipline or terminate incompetent workers.
In addition to discipline, “The Office will also identify barriers to the Secretary’s authority to put the well-being of our veterans first,” the text obtained by the DCNF stated.
“I smiled when I heard this was happening Thursday,” said Brandon Coleman. He was responsible for dissemination of information at the Phoenix VA. “I applaud President Trump for not waiting to take action but instead continuing his push for accountability at the VA with this executive order.”
Coleman thinks VA secretary Dr. David Shulkin wants transparency at the VA and likes the introduction of a whistleblower division. He says whistleblowers are held back by fear of retaliation by the department.
“Whistleblowers are the only ones who have continued to tell the truth at great risk to our professional careers within [the] VA,” Coleman asserted, stating that over the last three years, the VA has ruined careers over information releases.
“We appreciate that President Trump is taking steps to fix the VA’s toxic culture,” said Dan Caldwell, policy director of Concerned Veterans for America (CVA). He warned, “This new office will only be effective if it is coupled with strong accountability legislation, like the VA Accountability First Act, to speed up the termination process for bad employees.”
The legislation is necessary because, presently, Sec. Shulkin cannot immediately fire VA employees. The VA Accountability First Act of 2017, introduced by GOP senator Marco Rubio, will give Shulkin the authority to fire incompetent employees. It passed the House with only 10 Democratic supporters but faces strong Senate opposition.
Democrats cite “collective bargaining rights” and “due process” in opposition and previously stopped Rubio’s 2015 bill that would have addressed the issue.
Meanwhile, Shulkin is prevented from firing an employee who was watching porn while working with a patient.
“We’re taking a hard stance that we want this employee removed, and we do not believe the current rules allow us to do that quickly enough,” he told Fox News. “We need changes in the law, and I need the authority to remove these people immediately.”
Caldwell says the Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection needs corresponding legislation or it won’t be effective. “Identifying bad VA employees won’t do any good if you still can’t fire them,” he said.
H/T: The Daily Caller
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