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Sexting, VBMS and the Fast Track Program

VA Officials Step Down after OIG Sexting

Just in. The VA OIG confirmed allegations that a VA Director was caught covering up unethical behavior of a subordinate which included “sexting” on a government laptop. Yes, I said “sexting,” but wait, there is more.

The investigation centered around activities involving VA’s coveted VBMS program and its Fast Track solution during Under Secretary Allison Hickey’s push to solve the backlog last April, 2013. The employee was spoken of as a bit of a golden child when it came to testing that system, and was even allowed to telecommute from a hotel at taxpayer expense. When pressured about the matter, former head of VA Center for Innovation Jonah Czerwinski attempted to promote the bad actor. While his name is redacted, the employee’s actions and the resultant cover-up is quite extensive.

Not only did the employee “sext” on the laptop, but he installed special unapproved software to allow sexting. The employee, a VBA Rating Veterans Services Representative (RVSR), also helped himself to over $30,000 in unauthorized travel funds, misused official time, and misused his VA position and resources. Further, VA officials attempted to create a position for this individual within central office amidst an OIG investigation into his questionable behavior.

The OIG report reveals that two senior VA officials resigned as a result of the scandal:

  • Mr. Jonah Czerwinski – Director of VAi2 and Senior Advisor to Shinseki
  • Mr. James Alan Bozeman – VBA head of VBMS system redesign

The name of the bad actor was redacted, but the individual was cited as being the lead tester for VA’s Fast Track program. VA has touted its Fast Track program as being one of the primary ways VA would fix the backlog. Under Secretary Allison Hickey and Nashville VARO Director Travis Kraft were also mentioned in the OIG report.

On the surface, this looks like a mere folly, but the OIG report reveals a deeper problem with tentacles reaching to the top of VA. It was titled, Administrative Investigation Failure to Properly Supervise, Misuse of Official Time and Resources, and Prohibited Personnel Practice, VA Center for Innovation, VA Central Office.

Since this one goes pretty far into the realm of “truth is stranger than fiction” I thought posting OIG’s summary of the incident as it appeared in my email inbox would be useful:

The former (resigned) Director of VA’s Center for Innovation did not properly detail and supervise a GS-12 VBA Rating Veterans Service Representative (RVSR), which led to the RVSR misusing official time, unauthorized travel, misusing about $31,000 in travel funds, misusing a VA position and resources, and installing unapproved software to a VA laptop for sexting. The former Director also engaged in a prohibited personnel practice when he pressured VBA officials to create a non-competitive GS-13/14 position to give preference to and promote the RVSR; however, he intentionally did not tell the VBA officials of an ongoing OIG investigation of the RVSR for misconduct so that they could make fully informed decisions. Further, VBA officials engaged in a prohibited personnel practice when they failed to make proper considerations in their personnel decisions and created a position to promote the RVSR without question and solely due to the former Director’s request.

The actual OIG report included mention of the reprimand of the former Director of VA’s Center for Innovation (VACI). This is the part of VA responsible for funding new technology initiatives selected improve the agency. The former Director pressured – aka bullied – staff to create a new GS-13/14 position for the special RVSR, but failed to inform VA staff that the RVSR was being investigated by OIG for misconduct. The report also implied that favoritism and cronyism was at the root of the deceptive practice.

Check out the link above for the main report or here on the VA OIG website.

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18 thoughts on “Sexting, VBMS and the Fast Track Program”

  1. VA DC HQ RATS WILL KILL VETS FOR THE BONOUS $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  2. The majority of VA employees are not corrupt or any of the vicious things you all say above. The majority of them provide services and compensation to millions of deserving Veterans(including myself). The breadth of services really is amazing when you look at them…education, housing, medical care, compensation, help finding work, pension for those without income.It is easy to be frustrated, but it is a large organization which unfortunately allows for dark corners that such behaviours can hide. VA OIG is an VA organization which IS policing our actions and shed light in that dark corner. Two senior executives lost their jobs for it and set an example for others that such a thing is not to be tolerated. I ask that you keep in mind how insulting it is to all of us who work hard and believe in the VA’s mission to hear you pre-judge the whole organization because we discovered a problem and took actions to fix it.

  3. Wow,,,all that guessing, hollarin,bitching, lieing,cussin,,I don’t believe all that , the va is covered up with applications,wants, needs, appointments till thay caint see who is who and EVERBODY wants to stomp on them ,,cool it, lettum do their job for a while , then complain , maybe it will help matters along the way, we’ve all got medical needs and I believe THIER tryin fast as thay can

  4. Just a note to Bob – All VA employees are not like the idiots mentioned in the article. Most of us are hard working Veterans ourselves; doing the best we can with what we have. Actions of the idiots give a huge black-eye to those of us working hard to provide a quality service to those, like us, who have endure the sacrifice required to protect this country.

    1. If you actually policed your own then Ben wouldn’t have to write articles like this. Look in the mirror and stop blaming the victims, you come at us saying you aren’t all bullies but then you act like a bully. Get over yourself, quit the VA and end yourself.

      1. Unfortunately, I think you have misread or misunderstood my comment. For the record, I am not in a management or supervisory position; therefore, I have no authority to police anyone. Secondly, since I am not in a position of authority or in a supervisory role, I certainly cannot be a “bully”. I enjoy my job and I get great feeling of satisfaction with the fact that I am doing my part to help fellow Veterans. I have nothing to “get over myself” about.

        Mr. Brown, might I suggest you revisit the original post and re-read the posting or have someone read it to you slowly. Perhaps reading it again will increase the chance you will actually comprehend what is intended by the author. Or, did you just want the hear (see) yourself talk?

  5. Wow. To add insult to injury, the VA asked for a 5% increase in IT funding, including $173M for the VBMS system those clowns allegedly were milking for all it was worth. What they need is hard nosed, accountable, results oriented management rather than a bunch of incompetents busily moving expensive deck chairs around the Titanic. Shameful.

  6. Imightbearrested

    Jonah Czerwinski. A white shoe, pompous, beatty-eyed, snot-nosed milk toast that has worked for the government since 1999. He went to MIT’s Sloan School of Mgt., and Darden School of Mgt. at the Univ. of Virginia. He is young and has only lasted 9 to 14 months in any position he has had, because he SUCKS and he thinks he is better than anyone else. He worked as an Advisor to the Presidentcy on Homeland Security Projects, Patnership for a Secure America, Sr. Advisor to the Secretary of VA Affairs and the VA Center for Innovation, And now he works for the Advisory Board Company since he got fired by the VA. He never worked in private indsustry – just government.
    He looks like a DWEEB and is a complete bullshit artist. You can find him right away on google. Everybody should take a look at this douch and see the kind of people that thrive in government and shit all over you veterans. I feel like kicking his ass.

  7. YOU KNOW, THE SHIT NEEDS TO HIT THE FAN WITH EVERY VETERAN CLOGGING UP EMAILS AND PHONE LINES STRAIGHT UP TO POTUS! I’VE SENT ONE, AND STATED YOU MAKE SURE HE READS THIS, BECAUSE THIS IS MADNESS THAT NEEDED ADDRESSING YEARS AGO! SO TYPICAL, YOU MUST HAVE TO PASS THE I AM A PSYCHOPATH OR SOCIOPATH TO GET THE JOB!

  8. I think The Department of Veterans Affairs is a crooked, douche-bag bundle of SHIT run by crooked, incompetent, no-real-management-skills fartbags from the top down.
    I think the organization attracts drunkin’ crack-smoking turdballs for employees that shits all over us.
    I think it is perhaps the worse of all the departments in the Federal government – perhaps worse than the DOD and the Dept. of Education even – in the peckerheads it employs.
    I think a detailed organizational chart from the top down to the directors and managers (by name and function)should be made available for us so we have a real good understanding of how this cyclopse works and who is behind it. I haven’t found one out there anywhere, so if anyone knows where to find one >> let me know

    1. SO BOB, TELL ME HOW YOU REALLY FEEL? LET IT ALL OUT! I WAS TOLD BY MY CONGRESSMAN’S OFFICE WHO HANDLES,VA AFFAIRS, PRINT OUT TWO FORMS, AND WRITE EACH STATEMENT OF EVENTS. TRUST ISSUES, YES, TO WHOM SHALL I TRUST???

  9. J. Edward Vernon jr.

    NOW I HAVE A PARTIAL UNDERSTANDING, THIS IS WHERE MOST OF OUR FUNDING(FOR HELPFUL PROGRAMS) GOES, WHEN THE VA MENTION CUTS, THIS SOULD BE THE FIRST PLACE THEY GO.

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