In a historic move, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary David Shulkin has embraced strong legislation that would allow him to immediately terminate employees at-will.
As soon as Shulkin realized that he couldn’t terminate an employee who had been watching pornography with a patient, he issued a statement Friday urging Congress to pass accountability legislation, which is a huge move, given that former President Barack Obama stated firmly he would veto such measures if they ever passed across his desk.
“This is an example of why we need accountability legislation as soon as possible,” Shulkin said in the release. “It’s unacceptable that VA has to wait 30 days to act on a proposed removal.”
Shulkin then went on “Fox & Friends” Sunday to underscore the importance of moving this legislation through. As it stands now, the VA was only able to place the employee on administrative duties.
During this time of a proposed removal, the VA still has to pay said employee.
The House has already passed the VA Accountability First Act of 2017, and now that Shulkin has signaled support, advocacy organizations like Concerned Veterans for America are pushing for the Senate to pass the legislation, as well, so it can get to President Donald Trump’s desk, who has made reform at the VA a top priority of his new administration.
“An employee caught watching pornography with a VA patient should be escorted out of the building immediately, never to return,” Dan Caldwell, police directed at Concerned Veterans for America, said in a statement. “The VA is forced to retain employees like this due to incredibly cumbersome and bureaucratic regulations. To change this, the Senate must move quickly on the VA Accountability First Act of 2017, a bill supported by the President, VA Secretary, major veteran organizations, and veterans around the country who need and deserve better care than what they’re getting from the VA.”
As the legislation bluntly states, “The Secretary may remove, demote, or suspend an individual who is an employee of the Department if the Secretary determines the performance or misconduct of the individual warrants such removal, demotion, or suspension.”
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