2015 was a bad year for U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) Secretary Robert McDonald.
With the allegation that 57,000 veterans were waiting more than 90 days for appointments at VA medical centers across the country and an another 64,000 veterans had “requested medical care but never made it onto VA waiting lists.”
There was hope that after he was appointed, McDonald would start firing those accused of this travesty foisted on veterans nationwide. This was thought to be the case when in an interview with NBC on a February 15, 2015, McDonald claimed he fired 900 employees.
So, how many administrators were removed from their position or demoted?
However, James Hutton, a spokesman for the VA provided a breakdown for Politifact, an independent fact-checking journalism website: 487 of that number were “probationary” terminations. Because of the one-year probationary period for new employees, it is easy to release them if it is determined that they were not working out.
McDonald also claimed, “We’ve got 60 people that we fired who have manipulated wait times.” However, Politifact’s investigation revealed in a simple result: “Sixty people weren’t fired as a result of the scandal; the secretary’s statement is incorrect.”
Then, in July, there was the news that an official at the VA medical center at Augusta, GA, was indicted on 50 counts of falsifying veterans records. This was followed by a report entitled,
Then Congress got involved with the VA Accountability Act of 2015. The House version of the bill, H.R. 1994, was passed on July 29, 2015 with a 256 – 170 vote, mostly along party lines, despite a White House veto threat. The Senate version of the bill, S.1082, is currently awaiting further action.
The bill is so important that it is “supported by nearly every major veterans’ organization, including the American Legion and VFW.”
However, McDonald opposed this bill saying, “You can’t motivate good people to do a good job by punishing them for things that others have done,” he said. He went on to say, “Look, (if) it works at the VA, let’s spread it throughout the entire federal government so people are not ensconced.”
Prior to becoming VA Secretary, McDonald’s resume showed he was a successful President and CEO of Procter & Gamble, therefore a political appointee by President Obama. But since his appointment, there has been absolutely no news about VA employees responsible for the wait-time scandal being placed on probation, demoted, removed from their position nor been fired.
All else being the same, it appears that if the VA Accountability Act becomes law, McDonald will continue to not bother in using its capabilities and do the right thing, period!
That’s why McDonald needs to be fired immediately and replaced by someone more mindful to the needs of veterans: a veteran himself or herself!
Perhaps a woman would certainly be a welcome change to the continued scandals and injuries to our veterans.
One final note: Jonah Goldberg’s recent editorial was entitled, It’s Time to Get Rid of the VA.
Maybe that’s a better idea!