Benjamin KrauseThe Department of Veterans Affairs is moving quickly to button up holes in its ability to hold criminal Senior Executive Service (SES) employees accountable.

The SES is a unique layer of useless bureaucrats created by President Jimmy Carter in 1978. These employees serve just below key Presidential appointees and are supposedly top leaders selected for their superb leadership skills.

Or, at least, that is what the mantra says. Most feel SES employees are over entitled bureaucratic roadblocks that gum up governmental systems.

SES is considered by most insiders to be the most insulated and most useless employees within the higher levels of the Federal government that is practically impossible to fire or discipline.


Most recently, VA tried to discipline two SES employees accused of fraudulent and unethical behavior within the agency. Roadblocks within the employment system prevented Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson from taking action.

Now, VA is taking action. The new proposal would strip some of the due process rights these executive employees currently enjoy. Executives in charge of medical centers and other executives would be classified under Title 38.

This change would allow executives like Sloan Gibson to reprimand or terminate these employees without needing a decision from the Merit of Systems Protection Board (MSPB). Instead, presidentially appointed executives would be allowed to discipline lower level executives using abbreviated procedures.

The bill supporting the change is moving quickly through Congress in a bipartisan manner, and at least some version of it appears likely to make it through the process.

One can assume that any future demise of the SES system has none other than Diana Rubens and Kim Graves to thank. American taxpayers were uber pissed about VA’s inability to discipline employees where wrongdoing was confirmed.

The political will to revamp the system finally has enough momentum to stand a chance against such strongholds. How do you think this one will eventually play out?



Let’s just say this is finally moving in the right direction *but* it really depends on how Sloan Gibson has decided to ‘redefine’ accountability.

The jury is still out with my brain as far as this being just a political chess move and horse and pony show.

I want to believe. The VA is literally the U.S. Government’s ‘X-Files’.


The phrase ” presidentially appointed executives would be allowed to discipline lower level executives using abbreviated procedures.” is what concerns me.

Had the VA followed proper procedure Diana Rubens, Kim Graves and others would have both been fired but the VA sandbagged the firing.

What they are doing now is going to make the VA even less safe for Veterans!


“Board suspends medical license of ex-Tomah VA chief of staff”


Dan F
Notice it didn’t say how long the suspension was for? At least it is a step if the right direction. Every veteran mistreated by a physician should make a formal complaint to the state licensing board where they hold their license. If, every time a vet had a real issue if he would send a complaint to the licensing board, and a copy of the complaint, along with a cover letter to the director of the VA where the physician… Read more »

Excellent idea!!!!
We just need to get that idea spread throughout the VA communities!!!!


Hey Dan F

Regarding your questions on the Dr. David Houlihan I posted a link in another post above to a more informative article which includes a video interview with the Candy Man. It is about 8 minutes long and worth watching. The article is at:

“27 NEWS EXCLUSIVE: WI Medical Exam Board suspends license of former Tomah VA chief of staff”



Good to see as a first step. It would be better to see why they decided to suspend rather than revoke.
Either way, it is a mark on his record, unless he managed some kind of deal to expunge the record.

If you look up the article at WKOW, the board admits they took no action until he set up his private practice in LaCrosse as mentioned here before. That article also says Houlihan has an appeal hearing on April 11th appealing his firing from the VA. Houlihan argues in the article the state rushed to judgement due to political pressure instead of paying attention to the IG report exhonerating him. Civilians mattered. Dead veterans not so much. I like Dan… Read more »

Not sure if the Med board had the case scheduled for review, but I do believe Jason’s family had something to do with the recent actions of the board.

“Marine’s family speaks out against former Tomah VA doctor”


91Veteran, According to the paperwork filed with the Medical Board the emergency request for suspension of license was filed March 14th, 2016 by the prosecuting attorney Yolanda McGowan. Ms. McGowan did an excellent job by the way. So clearly it was in response to the family speaking out about the Candy Man going back into business. The minutes from the hearing and evidence submitted can be found at a link provided by the Channel 27 New Teams Greg Neumann at:… Read more »

Just plain crazy


Believe it When I see it

Ronald Nesler

Ben, I have heard (on the rumor riddled internet) that this bill also doubles the pay of these parasite vampires. Is that true? Cam you comment?

crazy elf

@Ron Nesler,
Google the following from;

“The Daily Caller News Foundation”

title of article is;

“Top VA Hospital Bosses Would See Pay Doubled Under Proposal to Congress”
by Luke Rosiak
dated: 3/13/2016

The article explains in detail what will happen if this proposal goes through! Evidently it ain’t B/S!

The pay increases are unfortunately more than likely the motivator in this “deal”, if passed and my fear is this is not even a used, water-logged Band-Aid to actually HELP **Veterans**. This reads and smells all about management. Are we not still in Budget Sequestration? No pay increases for Disabled Veterans or those on Social Security BUT they want to DOUBLE the salaries of these fraudsters? Maybe there’s much more to it and Veteran’s Healthcare would be improved but like… Read more »

Shut it down

Ronald Nesler

Thank you.


It’s hard to say. By placing them under Title 38, what good would that produce? I don’t know. Would that produce union protection for SES executives? If it does then this is indeed a horse and pony show!

“27 NEWS EXCLUSIVE: WI Medical Exam Board suspends license of former Tomah VA chief of staff” “” Although I commend the WI Medical Exam Board for their actions in suspending the License of Dr. Houlihan, (aka. The Candy Man), an examination of the facts surrounding the death of Marine Corp Veteran Jason Simcakoski do call for an investigation for intentional homicide. Congressional hearings on the Jason death show that in fact he had been in contact with the FBI regarding… Read more »
crazy elf

Do SES’ers have lobbyists? Or some “group of people”, ie; attorneys, unions etc., which protects them? I know the MSPB protects them. At least that’s what it seems like. Or, is McDonald and Gibson protecting them from litigation and prosecutions? I’m unfamiliar with individuals this high up in VA!

merri busch

SES is not part of the AFGE. It is the level of VA Regional Office Directors and above.

Jim Hadstate

I have no problem with this bill IF the Congress passes a provision in this bill that protects whistleblowers. You know for sure that if Senior (especially political appointees) Level Employees are left unchecked, any whistleblower is an automatic termination.


Retalation is the norm


Cos Denver director need to go

Dennis Parker

This is just the falling alart phase of the VHA Dynastic cycle. Perhaps SES represents the bloated and corrupt elite within any dynasty that ultimately leads to collapse. However, it is obvious to me that those who remain represent the foxes that avoided the farmer and are therefor the wisest and best at plucking the chickens from their roost. Be wary of the smokescreen. When VHA is terminated we are safe from these predators, not before.


Speaks volumes that high level Administrators within the VA would be so well-protected owing to their due process rights,—where veterans anonymously accused of “disruptive behavior” by the VHA have NO due process rights whatsoever…


Committee is illegal

Robin Mitchell

I have a stack of evidence that proves Indianapolis VBA Director Michael Stephens broke the law. And, thanks to Rep. Lee Zeldin, Sloan Gibson is personally aware of all of it and cannot deny his knowledge.

Want to see if this new law is a sham? Wait until it passes and see if Stephens is seen walking down the sidewalk with a box of personal items and two cops by his side.

If he isn’t nothing has changed.

crazy elf
@Robin Mitchell, Do you actually believe anything will happen? McDonald and Gibson have already shown their true colors by not standing tall for veterans or the taxpayers! Sorry if I’m so negative. Only, with all the corrupt cronyism of the Washington beauracrats, there’s not much trust left in me! ———————————————- On a side note: I’ve read today, and confirmed, where, “Black Lives Matters”, “Moveon . org” (a Soros backed organization), “Bernie Sanders groups” and other “disruptive individuals”, (many who have… Read more »
crazy elf

At the end of the TV show, “Hill Street Blues”. The sergeant would say to his “precinct officers” – “BE CAREFUL OUT THERE!”
So, be careful out there! It’s going to get ugly, in my opinion!

Robin Mitchell

I have the evidence. And, part of it is ignoring laws put in place to not have national Security Secrets get out. And, so far both Stephens and Gibson have ignored that and worse have made no changes to make sure it doesn’t keep happening.

The proof will be the law. Since we know one corrupt VBA Director we can watch him closely to make sure he is asking so you want fries with that and not wrecking veterans lives.,


I would like to see a lot more veterans Running the VA system And I’m not talking janitorial positions It’s time

Dennis Parker
I agree in theory only; if a military organization like the USN medical corps was tasked with the mission then without any doubt here would not be a need for this forum. Active duty vets should be running the show if indeed we still want this soap opera. Reality? We already have substantial medical assets in place for all vets in the community. Our nation no longer needs VHA. We have a disability procedure in place also. VBA is unnecessary.… Read more »
I love my generation we have become so good at talking it out. We have put a stake in the hearts of our for fathers. We talk and talk like old hens and the wonder why nothing ever changes. If all our for fathers did was to talk them selves to death nothing would have changed. There come a time when the talking has to STOP!!. Every veteran that is able to should be out in front of every VA… Read more »
Dennis Parker
My PCP is a doc from the Far East whose online profile complains about him handing out religion, like he did to me. The current Chief of .staff is from Kenya. The nurse who took my blood pressure had trouble with english and I am sure she was Phillipino. The kiosk st my clinic is the only thing that is native to Oregon. My shrink is fresh from retirement after successful treatment for alcoholism, and a permanent mark on her… Read more »
Frank Calderon
Dear R. Krause: I do not know what others may think but as for me I think leave all these government Agencies alone and we veterans together with all our fellow Americans who take seriously the loss of our Constitutional Rights have to take some quick action to save the little we have left of the freedom and show them we mean business, because our government thinks we are children playing games, we have to show them that we are… Read more »