Why it is important:
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) widespread and systemic lack of accountability for senior executives is exacerbating all of its most pressing problems. In fact, if you look at recent VA preventable deaths, patient safety incidents and backlog increases, Department senior executives who presided over negligence and mismanagement are more likely to have received a bonus or glowing performance review than any sort of punishment.
Despite the fact that multiple VA Inspector General reports have linked many VA patient care problems to widespread mismanagement within VA facilities, and GAO findings that VA bonus pay has no clear link to performance, the Department has consistently defended its celebration of senior executives who presided over these events, all the while giving them glowing performance reviews and cash bonuses of up to $63,000.
What the Bill Would Do:
H.R. 4031, the “Department of Veterans Affairs Management Accountability Act of 2014” would amend title 38 U.S.C., and give the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs authority to remove employees of the Senior Executive Service, whose performance the Secretary believes warrants removal, from the government service completely or transfer them to a General Schedule position within the current civil service system. The ability to remove such an employee is modeled after the same authority that Members of Congress have to remove their professional staff members who work for them.
The millions of veterans who depend on VA for benefits and services, the taxpayers who fund these important programs, and the other VA employees that deserve the best and most accountable senior leaders possible.
Why this bill should become law:
- The bill would give the VA Secretary greater authority to fire employees and remove them from SES service due to poor performance in the same manner a Member of Congress can remove a member of their staff.
- The bill would require the VA Secretary to give the Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs Committees notice of removal within 30 days of removing an individual.