VA responds to IG reports of misconduct in IT office

The department says it's "aggressively pursuing a thorough review of the situation"

In response to recent Veterans Affairs Department’s inspector general reports that found officials abused their authority, misused their positions, engaged in prohibited personnel practices, improperly administered awards and engaged in nepotism while working in the department’s information technology office, the VA gave this statement late on Aug. 20:

“VA is aware of the findings detailed in the OIG reports. VA expects our employees to set the highest levels of personal and professional conduct; therefore, we are extremely concerned by the descriptions of alleged improper conduct by VA staff. The department is aggressively pursuing a thorough review of the situation and will continue to work with the appropriate authorities. VA does not condone misconduct by its employees and will take the appropriate corrective actions for those who violate VA policy.”

In a response to a subsequent inquiry about speaking with the VA employees named in the report, a VA spokeswoman said because the investigation is ongoing, the department had no further comment.

Meanwhile, Kevin Owen, attorney for Katherine Adair Martinez, identified in the report as VA's deputy assistant secretary for information protection and risk management, said on August 21 that he and his client had only been given the IG findings on August 20, and were not prepared to comment in detail. Martinez is one of the key VA employees implicated in the IG's findings.

However, Owen said that based on an initial review, the IG findings pertaining to Martinez contain inaccuracies. In particular, he said, "I understand some of the allegations or quotes that are attributed to others in the report are not what the others said to the IG," although he did not elaborate.

 “Ms. Martinez is understandably hurt and upset by the allegations and she’s looking forward to the opportunity to provide a defense after we are able to look at many of the inaccuracies that are in the report,” Owen said.

Meanwhile, Jennifer Duncan, whom the IG said abused her authority and engaged in nepotism and other misconduct before her retirement in April 2009, couldn’t be immediately located by FCW. The Associated Press reported that a man who answered the phone at Duncan's residence said she was not available and not to call back.

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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Reader comments

Tue, Jun 28, 2011 Vets mom MA

where do you turn when the IG is of no use? Have there ever been investigations with an out come in favor of the vet?

Tue, May 31, 2011 Robert

They have been working on MyHealtheVet for over 5 years and they still can't get it right. A company in the private sector could have done it in much less time and would have cost a tenth of the tax payer's money!

Sun, Jan 16, 2011 Neverland Washington, D.C.

And at the conclusion of the OIG investigation....The OIG Recommended that they receive a promotion!....OIG is a useless waste of money. They spend a year's worth of salary getting paid GS-13 $100,000 to investigate nonsense. We don't need an OIG when we have the local police to handle criminal matters. Aside from that, administrative discipline is the responsibility of Federal Managers, that's why they're managers, not the OIG.

Thu, Oct 22, 2009

With managers like these working for the VA, I truly feel sorry for Veterans, although I am a Veteran, it is truly sad to be a Veteran having folks like these to look after our best interest. Now I understand why it is so difficult for us Veterans who have served there country cannot get the benefits they truly deserve because of VA Senior Dim-witted and thieving managers. The manager’s makes this agency the worse Federal Department of all the agencies and this agency is suppose to be the most caring. As a Veteran, these folks are so disgusting that they have no right to look at a VET let-a-know work or receive any benefits from the VA and that includes retirement pay...

Wed, Sep 2, 2009

Bonuses should be heavier on the worker end and lighter on the management end.

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