New Accountability Law Lets VA Fire DC Medical Director, Again

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Brian Hawkins
Brian Hawkins, the former director of the VA Medical Center, in Washington D.C. (WTTG-TV)

VA just re-fired the former director of the Washington DC VA Medical Center after being forced to rehire him months ago.

VA previously terminated director Brian Hawkins “for his failure to provide effective leadership to the D.C. Medical Center.” After his ouster, the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) forced VA to stay firing him until the Office of Special Counsel reviewed the matter.

During the pendency of the MSPB review, President Donald Trump, with Congress, passed new accountability laws that expedited the termination process for senior executives.

While all this was going on, IG initiated a second investigation which honed in on emails Hawkins sent to his wife containing protected information about employees and related information.

RELATED: Director Fired Over Emails, Not For Mismanaging $150 Million

So, rather than focus its termination on Hawkins various failures that are really the result of VA Central Office’s longtime underfunding of VA medical centers nationwide, it was able to hammer Hawkins for emailing his wife at work.

Yesterday, the press seems to play this one off as a win, but I think it’s a missed opportunity to more aptly dive into impropriety and underfunding from VACO that’s putting veterans’ lives at risk on a regular basis.

RELATED: Will MSPB Reversal Of Hawkins Termination Expose Deeper Scandal?

At the end of the day, who really cares about Hawkins?

What most Americans care about are the lives of veterans put at risk every day whenever VA withholds needed funds forcing directors like Hawkins to shortchange protective measures necessary to keep us all safe.

Don’t get me wrong, Hawkins did some dumb things like interfere with an investigation into his own wrongdoing or lose tens of millions in supplies.

And, he also allowed shortchanging of veterans that put veterans lives at risk. That is bad and he likely deserved his termination.

Sadly, by focusing only on the surface issue of wife emails, we are unable to dive into the depths of the swamp, at least this time.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/09/20/va-uses-trump-signed-law-to-fire-dc-medical-director-twice.html

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namnibor
namnibor

“Weebles Wobble….but they don’t fall down”. Floaters keep bobbing and will not flush down. Same difference.

namnibor
namnibor

I was implying that wait for it…Hawkins will somehow and some way be rehired as a private contractor for the VA….supplying/selling the very medical supplies that went “missing” right BACK to the VA. Wait for it. This is a criminal thug. He’s not done manipulating the system. Wait for it…

Peter Kreutzfeldt
Peter Kreutzfeldt

“Don’t get me wrong, Hawkins did some dumb things”
Is that person in touch with his intellectual faculties?
In my world he is a criminal.

Lem
Lem

Nothing has changed at the DC VA since I used it in the ’90s

Crazy elf
Crazy elf

1.)
Will he stay fired this time? My guess would be, NO! For some reason, I believe he’ll be hired by VA through an outside contractor, just as “namnibor” has pointed out!

2.)
Looks like the upper echelon at the American Legion have just put their feet into their mouths, again!
From: “Military.com/daily news”
Dated: 20 Sept. 2017
By; Richard Sisk
Titled;
“VA Wait Times As Good or Better Than Private Sector: Report”

The American Legion submitted a “17 page report” on how outside healthcare is NOT better than VA. Especially when it comes to wait times!
In the report, there are other issues the American Legion also claims. One concerns the “Choice Program”. Other issues are about “payments” to and from VA.

I wonder HOW much the American Legion got paid to write this report? What ever it was, was way too much!

namnibor
namnibor

That’s the Legion of Piggy’s mantra of “SAVE THE VA”…they truly believe if they huff and puff those lies repeated enough times, they might even believe it themselves.

Crazy elf
Crazy elf

Hey, namnibor,
One must NEVER forget how the A.L. and the other VSO’s are trying to “claim” this is just another attempt to “privatise VA”! Which, in my opinion, was started long ago by Clinton!
Those VSO’s have sided with VA for far too damn long! Why haven’t they spent some of the monies in their coffers to help veterans, instead of screwing OVER veterans! The DAV, in my opinion, is the worst of the groups!

91Veteran
91Veteran

Well, whatever lies the Legion tells Congress is certainly enough for Isaakson to keep from flying off his Stairmaster.

ThisVet2017
ThisVet2017

Of course the piggy VSOs don’t want the VA to go away. If veterans had choices (competing for their business) other than the VA, then there goes their bread and butter.

R. Michael Maddox/ SEABEE Can Do!
R. Michael Maddox/ SEABEE Can Do!

Exactly why, after 16 years as a member of A.L. I sent my cap back and told them to kiss ass. After they all supported the sign outside Phoenix stating how “GOOD” the VA had gotten. I tell every politician I can get to listen, the VSOs do NOT represent the rank and file Veteran that uses the VA Healthcare. Those clowns that get to meet with the Sec. and Pres. and congress are a bunch of stuff shirts. They need to talk to and listen to regular everyday vets. that must endure the torture of VA Healthcare.

IK
IK

Not deep enough into all aspects of why who what. Press keeps mentioning guess what VA running commercial with Vietnam vet who had lung cancer, saying don’t privatize my VA Mr trump, va knew how to take care of it causes agent orange. Glad they took care. Though many lives been saved lung cancer all over, then thre is the personal behaviors of VA got in way of saving lives. Who paid for that commercial? I’ve seen this before locally. Multi investigations and then that sweetheart vet bragging of how good his care is. Needless to say no rerun for office after critical statement perception. 1 n done for that senator. Who paid for this commercial and diversion of totality’s of VA behaviors? I don’t think officially VA states agent orange was cause. Expect lots BS battle. Who paid for it?

91Veteran
91Veteran

I am not sure where you are coming from Ben on your comments about under funding, even after reading the linked article. What funds were withheld to force Hawkins to ignore protective measures? Do you have information that shows under funding is causing problems? I ask because I cannot believe the VA is under funded more than the VA has a serious problem managing the funding they do have. I am not trying to be accusatory or aggressive, but genuinely curious about the funding issue.

As for Hawkins, missing millions in equipment such that surgeries have to be rescheduled is a serious problem of management. If it was a lack of funding, then Hawkins should have been more open about that.

As it is, his emailing protected or sensitive information on patients is also a serious problem, and something he is getting off lightly for if he is only being fired. This BS about personal information on veterans or anyone else being leaked, hacked or otherwise compromised is becoming much more common, because people are allowing those responsible to get away with just offering a little credit monitoring, and no other consequences. I have had my personal information leaked so many times over the past 5 years that credit monitoring agencies can monitor the credit monitoring agencies monitoring my credit, and little else. It’s getting old seeing nobody held accountable…which means people holding that information get flippant about protecting it.

Why was he emailing that to his wife? Why did his wife need the information? Was this inadvertent or identity theft?

Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve
Flotmorton P. Gildersleeve

Yep, Yep, Underfunding is a great reason for a Marine to leave his post while under fire…………. Yep,…..Sarge, sorry about our guys that got kilt, but I was underfunded………….Har, Har, Har, Har……..The new American Legion Parade with all the combat veterans of the American Legion decked out in their finest “dress blues”…..Give us a break. If the VA is privatized, ……where oh where do all the Am Legion bozos who are paid to “advise” vets on their disability funds go??? (out the back door or work as paralegals for the real attorneys advising vets on their rights)

Dennis
Dennis

“What most Americans care about are the lives of veterans put at risk every day whenever VA withholds needed funds forcing directors like Hawkins to shortchange protective measures necessary to keep us all safe.”

With respect I see slogans posted, cards sent, and hands shaken. I hear “thank you for service”, or “thanks”, or even rarely “can I buy you some coffee?”. I see respect, admiration, and a generation raised to honor our heros. I hear and see all these things directed at United State veterans by proud Americans, and this is all good.

But Ben, if most Americans cared about the lives of veterans then we would not be witness to vets among us burning themselves to death on VA lawns, blowing their brains out in VA parking lots, and stepping in front the train on 8th St., just outside of VA mental health doors.

If most Americans really cared they wouldn’t just keep looking the other way. So with respect I disagree on this point, because evidence shows me that most Americans could give a shit about the lives of my fellow veterans.

What say you, Mr. President? How do you come down on the hot button issue of the “lives of veterans”?

Dennis

R. Michael Maddox/ SEABEE Can Do!
R. Michael Maddox/ SEABEE Can Do!

JoinDennis, I agree whole heartedly. I hear the “Thank You” CRAP all the time too. But are they willing to help, Hell No. It’s like, “Thank you for your service BUT, your light bill isn’t paid so we gonna shut them off”. I get sick of hearing it because it means nothing coming from most people.!

Bill
Bill

You sound like me.

91Veteran
91Veteran

Off topic, but some may have heard of the two nitwits at the Naval hospital in Jacksonville abusing newborn babies. The idiots took pictures with one shown flipping off a newborn calling them mini satans, and another showing a video, holding a newborn by the arms and making it dance to rap music.

“https://www.yahoo.com/gma/navy-orders-stand-down-medical-personnel-employee-allegedly-023206852–abc-news-topstories.html”

The idiots posted this to social media.

If you read the above story, the Navy Surgeon General ordered a 48 hour stand-down to review oaths, policies, etc.

A couple thoughts come to mind. Once these idiots are thrown out of the Navy, how soon before some veteran is treated by them at a VA?

Contrast how fast the Navy moved on this, removed them from care and will be prosecuting them in addition to the stand-down, to how fast the VA moves (or not at all) when pictures are posted to social media showing veterans being abused.

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly

Problem is when they get to the VA the nurses who might get the boot will be elevated to the level of Doctors.

TaB
TaB

And????

So what, I don’t care. When the VA investigates and fires the criminals that came after me, then I’ll be sold.

BTW, going past week two (“2”) of no response from the VA Accountability Office to my basic question of: ‘Who will investigate my claims of whistleblower retaliation and how long will the investigation take?’

91Veteran
91Veteran

TaB, you may have a long wait, unless you force them to respond.

I called the VAIG well over a year ago to report fraud. The idiot who answered the phone claimed they didn’t investigate what I was reporting, got snotty with me and hung up.

Almost a year to the day that I called, I got a letter from the IG listing what they claim they investigate. They said if I wanted to pursue an investigation, I would have to sign a Release of Information. The letter also warned me that local VA management would likely be informed of my complaint.

Will they respond to you? Or ignore your complaint? I bet they try ignore you.

Seymore Klearly
Seymore Klearly

According to a report on Federal News Radio the VA is on a path to shrink its human resources function of 7,000 employees in half over the next few years, as the department consolidates HR offices and shifts those offices from transactional work to human capital consulting and strategic planning.

*In other words they are hiring contractors and personal services to fill positions.*

Also according to the report the departments of Veterans Affairs is already moving some federal employees, with customer-facing jobs, out of D.C. to consolidated offices in the field.

*Also in other words they are placing more employees on work from home status.*

Full article at: “VA, Interior detail workforce reductions and consolidations under gov’t reorganization”, Nicole Ogrysko, September 20, 2017
“https://federalnewsradio.com/workforce/2017/09/va-interior-detail-workforce-reductions-and-consolidations-under-govt-reorganization/”

IK
IK

No parade please, just a carnival.

james gallegos
james gallegos

Shulkin seems to only go after the people brought into the public light. If he wanted to help veterans He would listen to them.

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