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Monday, June 19, 2017

From the desk of Vicki Hartzler

Vicki Hartzler
The House passed important legislation last week that makes it easier to dismiss employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs or to restrict their bonuses when necessary. The Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 speeds up the process by which the VA Secretary could fire employees, including senior executives, who are simply not doing their jobs.

The majority of federal employees are hardworking public servants, but that is not always the case. In those instances where bureaucrats become bad actors the process to fire them can take over a year because it is so administratively complex. Sometimes, the dismissal is delayed indefinitely.

This bill would also allow the VA to take back an employee bonus or reduce the pension of a former employee who has been involved in illegal activity. It will also shorten the appeals process which can drag on for years. Additionally, VA staffers who “blow the whistle” on wrongdoing will have new protections against retaliation.

Our veterans have served us honorably. The least we can do, in return, is ensure those who are hired to work on their behalf at the VA are truly working in the interests of our veterans.

From the Desk of United States Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler