VA moving to fire embattled procurement official
- By Mark Rockwell
- Oct 07, 2014
The Department of Veterans Affairs has begun the process of removing one of the agency's top procurement officials in the wake of a damning inspector general report alleging that the official steered contracts to a particular vendor.
Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson said in an Oct. 6 statement that he had proposed removal of Susan Taylor, deputy chief procurement officer in the Veterans Health Administration Procurement and Logistics Office. The decision, said Gibson, came after the IG report that substantiated allegations of prejudicial conduct.
The Sept. 26 report said Taylor "engaged in conduct prejudicial to the government when she pressured contracting staff under her authority to give preference to and award a task order for reverse auction services to FedBid Inc." The report also accused Taylor of funneling contracts to FedBid and firing a VA employee for disclosing her activities. Although the VA IG said it made a criminal referral of the conflict of interest and false statements charges to the Justice Department, DOJ declined to prosecute.
Taylor would be the first senior executive to be removed under the VA overhaul measure signed into law in August, which provides for expedited dismissal of senior executives accused of misconduct, narrowing the appeal window to five days from 30.
Gibson said Ricky Lemmon, director of Service Area Office Central, will step in as acting deputy chief procurement officer.
Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.
Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.
Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.
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