Chairman Miller Statement on Proposed Phoenix VAHCS Personnel Actions
Today Chairman Miller released the below statement regarding VA’s announcement that it has proposed the removal of Phoenix VA Health Care System Associate Director Lance Robinson, Chief of Health Administration Brad Curry and Chief of Staff Dr. Darren Deering.
“I applaud Dep. Sec. Gibson and Sec. McDonald for doing what is clearly the right thing for the veterans who depend on the Phoenix VA Health Care System and the many employees who go to work there every day wanting to do the right thing. But we cannot forget the fact that it took nearly two years of investigations just to get to this point, and this is just the beginning of the disciplinary process. The truth is, because of arcane civil service protections that put the job security of corrupt bureaucrats before the safety of veterans, it will take many months and possibly years for VA to complete these proposed disciplinary actions. This announcement should serve as a wakeup call that it’s past time to reform our dysfunctional federal civil service system. And for the sake of our nation’s veterans, I hope the Senate is listening. After all, had the Senate taken up and passed H.R. 1994 last summer after the House did, all three of these employees would be fired in a matter of weeks. Instead, they will be collecting taxpayer-funded salaries for the foreseeable future.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs
The VA Accountability Act (H.R. 1994) would give the VA secretary the authority to swiftly fire or demote any employee for poor performance or misconduct while protecting whistleblowers and limiting the agency’s ability to place misbehaving employees on paid leave. It would also give VA the ability to recover annuities on pensions of VA employees convicted of felonies committed on the job. It passed the House in July of 2015 and is pending in the Senate.