23 Comments

  1. Lucy Filipov destoyed the lives of many and she hampered the progress of Veterans’ benefits through incompetence and corruption (including a culture of nepotism). I know: she fired me illegally twice and I won both times with a 1.7% chance of winning. The number of EEO complaints out of the Philly VA Regional Office are staggering as are the associated payments to taxpayers. That will be the next big Philly scandal.

    • That area is scandalous, the EEOC and MSPB have crooked administrative Judges (government attorneys, (not a administrative law judge a big difference) The appointment of a government atorney is not in accordance of the law (APA) when there are issues that the MSPB states all the time and dismiss complaints “It’s not our jurisdiction” Congress needs to make the MSPB and EEOC an all jurisdictional function, because of the crime involved in the federal government. These 2 buffoons are going to be moved , like Joan Mooney was( the Congressional Legislative Affairs) person Jeff Miller lit up in a hearing last year. The President is the culprit, he has oversight over the VA OIG and the channels for reporting to a Congressman is useless. The best thing you can do is file an injunction in court. The reported suspensions is a hogwash. (pigs bathing in mud) they are paid. It is very easy to hide a VA employee in a windowless basement than to go and try and fire an employee. The tactic VA uses is that you are a threat. What a joke.

  2. Why is it the VA seems to ALWAYS prefer “Administrative Action”, which employees know is only but a slap on the hand until media clears then back to same and repeat?

    This is like rewarding disruptive children for bad behavior. I fully believe the Gov’t Employee’s Union has been a HUGE contributor to the ‘VA Culture’ as it is.

    I have to yet again ask, Why does not Sec. McDonald lay down the fear of God to ALL VA Employees across the board? He’s been granted it. He sure is not earning any respect by Vets by seemingly hiding behind the scenes and it also appears he is just waiting out his time in that position, which will more than likely change hands with whomever becomes President in 2016…a person can do a lot to facilitate real change in a year and half from now…but over a year has passed and am not really feeling “that change you can believe in”…feel the same about this President, whose new proposed budget is trying to whittle away at Military Benefits…with Senator McCain and Lindsay Graham leading the way in Congress FOR reducing Military Benefits. BAQ and BAH is under attack by these people along with other benefits, trying to privatize parts of it by replacing Retirement Pension with a 401K that’s not much more than a Junk Bond…and we witnessed how that panned out for millions of Americans in 2008, and do not like it.
    That’s a story you should look into, Ben. Sen. McCain is claiming dual military couples are “Double Dipping”, basically making the incentive for divorce rather than marriage within the ranks…while Sen. McCain or ANY member of Congress only has to serve for 2 to 4 years and a GUARANTEED a pension for life with all those benefits, plus McCain also collects 100% Disability, Pension, Congressional Pay, and he married the heiress to Budweiser…now who’s Double Dipping?
    Hypocrites trying to save a very few million $, while SO MUCH could be saved by eliminating all the war profiteering DOD Contractors that repeatedly get caught going over budget or cutting corners that put our troops in danger, or like the various VA Construction Projects that have collectively gone Billions over contract.

  3. Mr. McDonald will do nothing. He is, in my opinion, a gutless wonder. He is a liar, as millions had witnessed (Meet the Press)! He has proven this time and time again. The only way he would prove his loyalty to veterans, will be to fire any and ALL VA employees who commit wrongdoing ASAP!
    Of course I believe this will never happen!
    Stay tuned folks, there will be much more BAD news concerning the VA in the months ahead. And does anyone believe anything will happen?

      • Myself, I have been waiting for over 3 years, for my case to get some results, so far the Supervisor of the Police Department of the Ann Arbor VA got a promotion and his wife, brother and daughter in law got a job and he is still here after, I did share with the IG of Washington about the 15 violation’s about him and NOTHING has been done, well, I was reassigned to another position in another department make much less money and the supervisor is still sharing lies about me and I have been given a poor evaluation on my last one from him and I was in the department before him and all of his friends that he did hire that has NO experience and education about the Job and I was the person that gave him the reference for his position and that was the Thanks that I got.

    • VA SEC HAS FORCED EARLY RETIREMENT for many already! The VA SEC DID FORCE early retirements, but because of UNIONS 🙁 the Director got to walk away with a large bonus money too 🙁 oh BTW he was a veteran himself, enlisted to officer, who refused to properly take care of other veterans! He was the DIRECTOR! Currently, the Chief of Staff is a very TOXIC LEADER at the Black Hills Health Care System (BHHCS-VA)(SD), if you can say leader 🙁 . She has run way too many great Drs & other staff away from the BHHCS-VA (SD) If the VA SEC did “FIRE” then open to TORT CLAIMS! (medical malpractice) need to get rid of toxic leaders who are running good medical doctors, nurses, NP, PAs out of this area 🙁 even refusing to have a Certified MD to Supervise new Drs &/or 4th year Med Students but nooooo they SrExecStaff did not take care of vets some & have died or still dieing for lack of proper care 🙁 TOXIC LEADERS in charge of VA Systems need to go!!!!!!!! The whole SES at the BHHCS needs to go! start with those who want to and will do a good job to take care the veterans!

  4. Suspension does squat. The VA will simply maintain the suspension until the worst of the publicity has blown over, then reinstate these idiots. The agency may need to transfer them, but, hey, they will get a fully taxpayer-funded relo packet where they’ll undoubtedly fudge their expenses and soak up even more gravy.

    • Makes it pretty obvious as to why the VA expends so much time and effort to deny us vets our comp and benefits doesn’t it?

    • ONLY TWO. This place has a warehouse of them or they are flat corrupt thieves including the New VA Secretary’s new director selection!

  5. “That audit faulted Filipov for misusing her position and referred the matter to the Justice Department, which declined to take criminal action in favor of administrative discipline by the VA.”

    They elected to have the VA HANDLE IT????REALLY!!!!

  6. I know how to cure the problem,unfortunately its illegal,immoral and been deemed cruel and inhumane and is probably considered politically incorrect. So with that said Ben our only alternative is to bring pressure to bear by keeping a constant pressure on the news media to stand up for the Vet’s that have made their careers possible. Thank you Ben for this website to keep that pressure on that we so dearly fought for !!! Anchors Away,Semper Fi,Aim High…Fly-Fight-Win,Look Sharp-Be Sharp(Navy,Marines,Air Force,Army)yeah it’s for all of us Ben keep this Fire Base loaded and fortified!!!!!

  7. The Martinez, California, Mare Island if not the total Northern Californian VA Health Care System has or had people that abuse, mistreat, and harass that rip the VA off from their very existence. The Congress Men Miller and Thompson are useless as are the VSO’s and 99% of the failed NSO’s who just care about the donut and free lunch. The veteran die’s at there incompetent hand’s and all the VA can say is next….

  8. For Goodness Sake, it is not that hard to fix the major problems at the VA. It just isn’t. I could run it with a handful of trusted people, but I could solve some of the big problems. The problem is you can’t fire them, but I would and have them outprocess to include not paying them and let personnel and legal figure out what to do. That’s just a start. Then I get all 10 or 5 regional directors together and tell them the way it is going to be. The first one that says anything but ok, is fired. He/she will hit the unemployment line too. I have a friend of mine that I could sit down with and in a week or so come up with a simple to use database. I have done it before, I can do it again. I come up with the concept he builds the database. How complicated is that? Minimal costs compared to what they are spending now. Then I would go down to a regional office, get some files and go through them to see why we are not approving claims for Veterans and what the stumbling blocks are. I will spend the time necessary to show them how they should be looking at the medical records. If they don’t have the required training, they will, because they need it. I will look to older Veterans that know how the system works and how it is supposed to work. 100% Disabled Veterans and others that can’t really work could help train the examiners. Again, not that hard. I can’t understand the deny, deny, deny, then deny again mentality. I know that some of my claims are valid, but they keep getting denied. Why? I asked to sit down with the people who determined my disability and the ones approved and disapproved and ask why? The VA said no. They were afraid I could develop a relationship with the person. I told them I didn’t want to date the person, I just wanted to ask questions. They also blew me off when I asked what the training they had, whether they were Veterans, Disabled Veterans, had a disability, ever served, ever served in a combat zone or have any professional medical training. I did a FOIA and never heard back. I know, I sound like a broken record, but dang it all, it ain’t rocket surgery….

    • To be truthful about the matter, the VA needs to be commissioned equivalent to the Public Health Service, with rank and file. A Uniformed Code of Military Justice System in place. This VA force would be deployable so that they will be operationally ready to support the troops, as well as to have an integrated system where any service connected disability can be tracked. As of this time, it looks as though resources would be wasted, because of the unsat employees that are there. The staff would need to be medi-vac due to a large percentage of fatbacks running the operation there. You would reduce costs by all these workers comp claims, EEO and MSPb and including FLRA costs associated with Unions. The government would have a full supply of medical staff available acrooss the globe. And one important thing , these people would be exposed to the direct effects of combat. As General Mattis put it ““You cannot allow any of your people to avoid the brutal facts. If they start living in a dream world, it’s going to be bad.”

      • Agree entirely!! The VA absolutely NEEDS to fall under jurisdiction of UCMJ, no less. This would “standardize” the VA across the board, just as all we various Military Branches and those that have served are already used to…a smooth and well-oiled machine.
        The civilians running the VA and literally running it into the ground and have forgotten they are to be there FOR VETERANS, not as it stands, and ELIMINATE **ALL BONUSES AT ALL LEVELS**.

        The VA continues to only do the “Administrative Actions”, which is not true discipline because they have made it incredibly hard to fire these scumbags and it’s high-time for Rep. Jeff Miller to implement strict measures because it sure seems Sec. McDonald is hiding under a rock and buying his time…this is becoming ridiculous and Veterans are either dying because of terrible care or taking their own lives each and every day because of the created frustration the VA has crafted.
        ENOUGH ALREADY~!

  9. Although Gary Hodge was only suspended for as stated in the article “The IG said Hodge acted improperly because he did not disclose his wife’s income on mandatory disclosure forms. Her profits from that party had been deposited in a joint bank account and used by the couple to pay for a vacation last year.”

    He should be fired for what the IG found in there ten month probe of his department.

    To quote a few highlights from an article titled “After 10-month probe, report slams Phila. VA” published by philly.com at:

    http://articles.philly.com/2015-04-17/news/61222505_1_allison-hickey-veterans-affairs-benefits-office-diana-rubens

    “The VA inspector general’s 10-month probe found more than 31,000 veteran inquiries had languished, on average, for almost a year. Sorters had stamped as “unidentifiable” thousands of pieces of mail from veterans, ignoring phone numbers or other information that would have made many easy to track.”

    “The report also gave new clarity on the claim that first drew investigators to Philadelphia: that a VA policy allowing old claims to be marked as new was being widely applied to hide the office’s backlog.

    VA officials have said the mistakes stemmed from a misunderstanding of agency policy. But in the report, investigators said managers changed how the policy was applied based on the backlog of pending mail, a practice that “seems to contradict VA core values of integrity.”

    For example, in July 2013, staff members were told to put new dates on claims older than 264 days, the inspectors found. In December 2013, that changed to claims older than 212 days. On March 11, 2014, staff members were told to not establish any claim with a date prior to Feb. 26, 2014 – making the oldest possible claim 13 days.

    Investigators found problems across the facility. They estimated that sorters in the pension division failed to log more than 6,000 pieces of mail because they claimed they couldn’t identify the affected veterans, even though investigators in many cases easily found a phone number or a return address. That left veterans and their family members in the dark – and “more alarming,” investigators wrote, may have resulted in the premature destruction of mail.”

    “They found 20 unmonitored date-stamping machines in one office, which “created an environment where anyone . . . would have the opportunity to manipulate dates of claims without detection.”

    And they found one VA worker responsible for quality control who routinely doctored benefit forms to cover up mistakes made by coworkers. Managers knew and didn’t stop the employee, investigators said.

    Some allegations were not substantiated, including that office management attempted to conceal two pallets of potentially old claims ahead of a visit by congressional staffers and that employees processing claim appeals cherry-picked easy cases to inflate performance numbers.”

    “KEY FINDINGS

    Tens of thousands of inquiries from veterans sat unanswered for an average of 10 months

    More than 22,000 pieces of returned mail, dating to August 2010, had not been processed.

    Documents containing personal information of veterans and office employees weren’t securely stored.

    One worker responsible for quality control routinely doctored benefit forms to cover up mistakes made by coworkers.

    Conclusion: “Many employees do not trust management, and that distrust has hurt the service provided to veterans.”

    For all the damage he did to Veterans Gary Hodge was temporarily reassigned to the VA’s Washington office.

    Now Gary Hodge was only suspended for as stated in the article “The IG said Hodge acted improperly because he did not disclose his wife’s income on mandatory disclosure forms. Her profits from that party had been deposited in a joint bank account and used by the couple to pay for a vacation last year.”

    • Okay, So to whom can we veterans turn to to get help? When we contact VSO’s they tell us that they can’t make the VA do ANYTHING. When we write our congressional reps the VA tells them blatant lies which they believe and then tell us that the VA is following standard protocol. When we write to the VAOIG they do not respond and when we write to the media, they ignore us. And, yet people wonder why 22 vets commit suicide every day!!

    • The VA routinely ignores law – not sure what department propagates all the nonsense we have to deal with, and that handcuff those working at the VA to be able to do their job. 22 vets is low-balled with a faulty statistical extrapolation. Working on a new approach – will share when ready to deploy. Don’t want to alert any Victor Charlie in the camp before hand.

  10. wow, this is the same thing that happened to us good kaiser hospital workers, where anyone who did their job for the patients ( there are are many soldiers and vets who kaiser’s patients as well as civilian employees) were targeted (then on comp) while the bad employees got to keep their job, i guess it’s so the VA as well as other federal agencies (kaiser is a federal contractor) can just ask for taxpayer money with no accountability and our union was SEIU which helped the employer steal, harm, maim and worse and then We lost our pensions after our pensions went to the 401k. and the union are in in full complicity with the employer with all of this as is with the union who help hire or fire the VA employees, although it’s almost impossible to get one fired. Then these unions use part of the union dues in getting certain candidates elected. As long as these employees are hired as dumb as rocks, they will agree to anything like who these unions want their employees on who they should vote for too. Many millions via the aflcio go to money for candidates just as employers contribute their share to their candidates, That’s one of the reasons why it’s all rigged.
    With all of the knowledge the disabled vets have, you all could run the VA like a finely tuned Swiss clock AND save money too.

  11. Neither Lucy Filivov nor Gary Hodge will suffer anything permanently or financially.

    Mrs Hodge already told them as she whispered to the angels that they’re getting the needed vacations and publicity at the government’s expense.

    I worked at the VA but wasn’t invited to the party.

    So sad…..I could use the publicity.

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