VA Fires Hundreds Under Trump
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has fired 548 employees so far this year, ever since President Donald Trump entered the Oval Office in January.
The government staffers who have been removed from their jobs include nurses, doctors, food service workers, cemetery caretakers, and housekeepers.
During the same period, an additional 233 employees have been disciplined; 200 were suspended and 33 were demoted.
The disciplined employees include more than 70 nurses, 25 physicians, 22 senior leaders, and 14 police officers.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been repeatedly criticized for having a bureaucratic structure laden with corruption. The government employees’ union and other employee groups are known for defending bad employees and protecting them from getting fired.
“Our accountability processes are clearly broken, ” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin at the White House. “Just last week we were forced to take back an employee after they were convicted no more than three times for DWI and had served a 60 day jail sentence.”
It was found that managers at the department have been reluctant to take action against bad-performing employees. In some cases, the Merit Systems Protection Board was reported to have overturned firings. Shulkin is now working to reduce the board’s role in the department’s firing decisions.
Overall, the government agency is striving to improve its image and change the notion that government employees cannot be fired. “Under this administration, VA is committed to becoming the most transparent organization in government,” said Shulkin.
To achieve that, the agency is taking various steps. One such initiative includes posting all the firings online on the agency’s official web site on a weekly basis. “Veterans and taxpayers have a right to know what we’re doing to hold our employees accountable and make our personnel actions transparent. Posting this information online for all to see, and updating it weekly, will do just that,” said Shulkin.
Shulkin was appointed by former President Barack Obama as an undersecretary at the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. He was nominated to become VA Secretary by Trump, and he took charge in February.
“YOU’RE FIRED! Trump’s VA Terminates 500, Suspends 200 For Misconduct,” The Daily Caller, July 9, 2017.
“VA fires more than 500 feds under Trump, even before new accountability law,” The Washington Post, July 9, 2017.