By Emilye Bell
The Department of Veterans Affairs has a reputation for providing misleading information to the public, when they bother to share information at all. For the last several years, both VA leadership and the Obama administration have been claiming that “a whole bunch” of VA employees have been fired since the wait list scandal emerged in 2014. That claim earned President Obama four “Pinocchios” from The Washington Post this month.
Not only has the public been lied to about the number of firings at the Department of Veterans Affairs, but USA Today released a report that the department’s claim of “new leadership” is not actually new. The report revealed that the VA only hired “eight medical center directors from outside the agency” since 2014. Secretary McDonald claims that 90% of medical centers have new leadership, however it has been found out that these “new leadership teams” were mostly reshuffled employees from other facilities.
The most shocking numbers here are these – 69 permanent directors have been put into place under Secretary McDonald’s tenure. Of those 69, 49 were transferred from other VA facilities and 12 were moved up in the same facility. So that leaves the eight that were hired outside of the VA. The disturbing part of this is that “in 22 cases, the VA moved directors from one center to another, sometimes to more complex hospitals, but at other times, to less complex hospitals.” That is a revealing statement as it sets the stage for terrible directors being shipped off to more easily managed facilities. This way the VA has no beefs with the labor unions that represent their employees and they can tell the public that their facilities are under new leadership.
There are an unfortunate number of examples, but the most striking is Phoenix’s new director. RimaAnn Nelson is the seventh director the facility has seen in the last two years, and given its issue-plagued background. one would think the VA would only want to appoint a new director who was beyond reproach. Wrong. Nelson has directed multiple VA facilities, one of which potentially exposes almost 2,000 veterans to HIV and hepatitis. The VA’s answer to issues such as this is to swap facility directors to hide the mismanagement and tell the public each of these facilities is under new management.
Corruption and deception is the name of the game at the VA.
TLB recommends Concerned Veterans of America for pertinent government & veterans news articles.
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