Veterans Affairs

New VA office to focus on whistleblowers, accountability

VA logo 

President Donald Trump visited Department of Veterans Affairs headquarters on April 27 to sign an executive order setting up a new office to crack down on problem employees and protect those who report waste, fraud and abuse.

The VA Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection is to be established within 45 days. It is tasked with using "all available authorities to discipline or terminate any VA manager or employee who has violated the public's trust and failed to carry out his or her duties on behalf of veterans," the executive order states. The mission also includes working "to ensure swift and effective resolution of veterans' complaints of wrongdoing at the VA;" protecting employees "who lawfully disclose wrongdoing from retaliation;" and finding ways to "recruit, reward, and retain high-performing employees."

The new office "will report directly to me as secretary, so that we can identify barriers that are preventing us from moving employees and people we have identified that should no longer be working at the VA," Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin told reporters at a White House press briefing on April 26.

At the signing, President Trump thanked America's veterans for shedding "blood, sweat and tears" for the nation, according to the press pool report. "We're not going to let 'em down," he said.

The executive order offers a head start on the House-passed Accountability First Act of 2017, which the Trump administration supports. That bill sets up an expedited process to remove employees for poor performance or misconduct. It is strongly opposed by federal employee unions, and it's not clear if it could pass the Senate in its current form.

Shulkin is still looking for "legislative help," he said, urging movement on a Senate version of the Accountability First bill.

About the Author

Aisha Chowdhry is a former staff writer for FCW.


Featured

  • Contracting
    8 prototypes of the border walls as tweeted by CBP San Diego

    DHS contractors face protests – on the streets

    Tech companies are facing protests internally from workers and externally from activists about doing for government amid controversial policies like "zero tolerance" for illegal immigration.

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    At OPM, Weichert pushes direct hire, pay agent changes

    Margaret Weichert, now acting director of the Office of Personnel Management, is clearing agencies to make direct hires in IT, cyber and other tech fields and is changing pay for specialized occupations.

  • Cloud
    Shutterstock ID ID: 222190471 By wk1003mike

    IBM protests JEDI cloud deal

    As the deadline to submit bids on the Pentagon's $10 billion, 10-year warfighter cloud deal draws near, IBM announced a legal protest.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.