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  • Hatch Joins Legislation to Increase Accountability at the VA
    by kcsg.com news
    Published - 06/04/14 - 03:25 PM | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Department of Veterans Affairs Seal
    Department of Veterans Affairs Seal
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    (WASHINGTON, D.C.) – U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has cosponsored legislation that would increase accountability at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). The VA Management Accountability Act of 2014, introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), would give the VA Secretary complete authority to fire or demote VA Senior Executive Service (SES) or equivalent employees based on performance. The bill is a response to reams of evidence indicating a widespread lack of accountability in the wake of the department’s disability benefits backlog and a mounting toll of preventable veteran deaths at some VA medical centers across the country.

    “It clear that one of the problems that led to the mismanagement in the VA in Washington and the subsequent mistreatment of our veterans was a lack of accountability across the agency, and this bill will correct that,” Hatch said. “Workers in the private sector are held accountable for their actions - Why should employees at the VA be any different? This is just common-sense, and hopefully Congress can act quickly so that we can begin to right the ship and give our veterans and taxpayers the assurances they need that they’re getting the care they deserve.”

    Current law ostensibly allows SES workers, a group representing the bulk of VA’s senior leaders, to be disciplined and fired, but there are considerable amounts of red tape involved and the process can drag on for long periods of time. This bill gets rid of these hurdles in order to give the VA secretary authorities similar to those Members of Congress have to fire employees from their staffs. In Fiscal Year 2012, there were 448 career SES employees working at VA.

    Despite the fact that multiple VA Inspector General reports have linked many VA patient care problems to widespread mismanagement and GAO findings that VA bonus pay has no clear link to performance, top VA officials consistently defended their celebration of executives who presided over poor performance.

    The VA Management Accountability Act is supported by AMVETS (American Veterans), Concerned Veterans for America and Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.

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