PURGE: The Department of Veterans Affairs is swiftly purging from its ranks most of its leadership with knowledge of involvement in decisionmaking prior to Robert Wilkie talking the helm as new Secretary of Veterans Affairs.

Rumors are swirling the agency had a list of approximately 16 leaders who were selected for the purge. Many of the leaders are quietly leaving after being handed termination decisions but instead opting for settlements to resign.

Inside VBA, principal deputy under secretary Margarita Devlin is making short work of plans for the agency to create a fourth administration for Economic Opportunity. She was apparently instrumental in destroying the two deputy secretary roles previously in place.

With under secretary Paul Lawrence just getting his feet wet, Devlin is essentially running the show over the entire VBA and is systematically peeling it apart. More on this to come including an incredible double standard in how the agency treats those in the good ole boys club vs female leaders engaging in the same behavior.

What does Diana Rubens have in common with Thomas Murphy? I will let that one linger for a few days.

That aside, the agency is culling many of its leadership positions that actually increase oversight where checks and balances might reign in decisionmaking. For example, Devlin previously would have been challenged by former deputy under secretary Curtis Coy’s replacement, but those positions were all eliminated by Devlin and practically all leaders with institutional memories of past dealings and foibles area also gone, except Devlin.

What many fear will occur is the reduction of these supposed layers will result in less oversight and greater fraud rather than reducing it. And, when Congress calls in VA leadership for failing… and I promise this will happen… agency leaders will not know the answers to basic questions. And, Congress will complain. Nothing will get fixed.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

Email From Under Secretary for Benefits

I am pleased to announce a realignment of VBA’s senior leadership around three overarching priorities: 1) providing Veterans with the benefits they have earned in a manner that honors their service; 2) ensuring strong fiscal stewardship of the money entrusted to VBA by the taxpayers; and 3) fostering a culture of collaboration.  These priorities get to the heart of why we are here. 

I am excited about the changes described in the enclosed announcement and the positive influence they will have on your ability to accomplish your mission. I thank you for all you do every day and I commit to continuing to champion VBA and its employees within and outside the Department. 

Paul R. Lawrence, Ph.D.

Under Secretary for Benefits

Realignment

I also received the following communications today in attachment with the under secretary’s email which is a more detailed explanation of how the purge is going to roll out. The below-italicized section is from one of those communications.

VBA Realigned Around Three Priorities

The Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) announced today that it has realigned its leadership structure to further streamline operations and increase service to Veterans. The realignment enables a leaner, more efficient, more accountable organization.

Dr. Paul Lawrence, VBA’s Under Secretary for Benefits, began his tenure by establishing three organizational priorities. The first priority is to provide Veterans with the benefits they have earned in a manner that honors their service. Second is to ensure strong fiscal stewardship of the money entrusted to us by taxpayers. And third is to foster a culture of collaboration. Today’s realignment was designed to support these priorities.

VBA will eliminate two Deputy Under Secretary offices, thereby removing an organizational layer between VBA Business Line leaders and the Under Secretary for Benefits. This will streamline communications and increase accountability and responsiveness. VBA’s new structure better enables front-line employees to deliver results and empowers its leaders to deliver timely, quality service to Veterans.

VBA’s commitment to collaboration and to delivering benefits in a manner that honors Veterans and promotes their economic well-being, has led to the creation of an Office of Transition and Economic Development (TED). TED will collaborate with Department of Defense, Department of Labor, Veterans Service Organizations and other organizations to improve military-to-civilian transition outcomes and provide oversight and visibility on programs designed to position Veterans for economic success.

VBA’s new structure will align the workforce to meet its needs today and in the future. Consistent with the commitment of this administration and the department, this realignment demonstrates VBA’s continued efforts to making things better for the Veterans, employees, and American taxpayers.

New Organizational Chart For Education Service

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25 COMMENTS

  1. “I am pleased to announce a realignment of VBA’s senior leadership around three overarching priorities: 1) providing Veterans with the benefits they have earned in a manner that honors their service; 2) ensuring strong fiscal stewardship of the money entrusted to VBA by the taxpayers; and 3) fostering a culture of collaboration. These priorities get to the heart of why we are here.

    I am excited about the changes described in the enclosed announcement and the positive influence they will have on your ability to accomplish your mission. I thank you for all you do every day and I commit to continuing to champion VBA and its employees within and outside the Department.

    Paul R. Lawrence, Ph.D.

    Under Secretary for Benefits”

    Just more PR BS spin…calling like it is since God knows when…..

  2. Opposition to Trumpster’s exec orders.
    “https://www.afge.org/globalassets/documents/generalreports/2018/letter-to-president-trump-re-exec-orders-on-fed-workforce.pdf”

    “Wash, rinse, repeat.” Exactly.

    Watching this ignorant Peter Strzok hearing was telling enough let alone to keep reading about the grand VA and their scheme of things and cover-ups. The hate (for “Deplorables”), corruption, nepotism, etc., is too deep to correct unless Trumpster gets his ass back here and do what he said he’d do. America first, second, third, period. And to end PC-ness and fix the damn VA system (who told some of us to vote Democrat for better care). Which would include the entire medical/insurance complex too. Oh and end all this federal and state/local censoring and unbridled attacks on some of us who won’t ‘shut-up.’ All we get is more distractions, passing the buck, excuses, etc. When there are NO real good excuses for what’s going on full circle or at the ‘top’ of the VA. Not a word yet about veterans being removed from the domestic terrorist list either.

    Where’s the discussion ‘from the top’ of the VA or in DC about who comes first for employment and education, or freedom for that matter. Illegals, so-called immigrants/refuuuugees by thousands in a city, DACA kids (who are actually adults in great part), demanding gov job placement/immediate employment, welfare for life for invaders, or veterans? To why the big push to protect all unions from ‘right to work’ laws being forced to pay union dues and play their political games like is done locally. Which is full of corruption, nepotism, cliques and self-service. If you don’t fit in oh oh.

  3. “[…What does Diana Rubens have in common with Thomas Murphy? I will let that one linger for a few days….]”-
    They both linger at the VA like massive elephant farts day after taco Tuesday at the zoo?
    Both are likely orange inside if you cut in half?
    Both use Round-Up weed killer as cologne?
    Both have wielded-down bolts on the V.A. Titanic’s poop deck?
    All of the above?

  4. Let’s hope with the purge of the “good Ol Boy’s” that we get some action towards approving more claims lowering the number of rejections. What happened to good people like Robert Reynolds? Is he out with the bath water? Washington DC must be made to understand that there are rules in place to deal with those vets who can’t find 5 feet of paper documentation for their claims and they need to be made to use those rules especially for Korea and SE Asia vets

  5. Purge, all Management from front line to the top. The new Secretary of veteran’s affairs will have a fresh start with all new management.

    Then our Justice department and our elected officials make law’s where VA employees whom break rules regulations and law’s.

    Will be forced to go in front of a federal judge, for corrective action. When these employees harm veteran’s or retalate against whistleblowers.

    The VA employees must know, if they break the law, they will not be able to resign or retire with a settlement.

    As stated by another poster. Stop the veteran’s domestic terror list. The disruptive committee must be abolished.

    This illegal committee is abusing their power and harming veteran’s and possibly pushed some over the edge and those veteran’s committing suicide.

    This disruptive committee (has), no therapeutic value at all. It is being used by the VA to punish veteran’s, whom they do not like for personal reasons.

    The VA is blatantly depriving all these veteran’s of the (right), to seek council and have taken away all of the veteran’s civil, human and constitutional rights to a fair trial.

    Purge: they can do this site by site, with little disruption to veteran’s care. Management is expendable, veteran’s are not.

    The VA has been compared to a cancer. Some people who have cancer, if they want to live, must take drastic measures to save their own lives.

    The VA, has cancer of the Brain and must be aggressively treated. The VA is hanging by a thread. If a transplant is needed to replace the cancerous brain, so be it.

  6. More than 130,000 injured vets due big tax refunds because of computer glitch
    By Kathy Kristof MoneyWatch July 12, 2018, 5:36 PM

    “More than 130,000 U.S. veterans who were released from service due to injuries sustained in combat are due substantial federal income tax refunds because of a Department of Defense error that stretched on for decades.

    For 25 years, between 1991 and 2016, a computer glitch at the agency caused non-taxable disability severance payments to be subject to income taxes, a Defense Department official told CBS MoneyWatch. The government is now trying to help veterans or their survivors recover these old overpayments, each of which is expected to result in refunds of $1,750 or more.

    For vets who may be due a refund, the compensation process is likely to be complicated given that many taxpayers not have saved decades-old tax records. However, it is well worth the effort. The National Veterans Legal Services Program (NVLSP), a nonprofit advocacy group that originally discovered the tax mistake, estimates that some veterans are due refunds exceeding $10,000.”

    Full Article with explanation on how to file at: “https://www.cbsnews.com/news/government-error-cost-injured-veterans-thousands-in-tax-refunds/”

  7. Senate Panel Approves Wilkie as Next VA Secretary
    Published: July 13, 2018
    More in: Armed Forces News

    “The Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee approved by voice vote the nomination of Robert Wilkie to serve as the next Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., cast the sole dissenting vote during the July 10 session. Wilkie has served as acting VA secretary since March 28, after then-Secretary Robert Shulkin stepped down. Wilkie’s nomination is headed to the full Senate for a vote.”

  8. Vet’s frustrating experience with VA eye clinic: Unacceptable
    A contract cancellation resulted in diminished service, and VA leadership must act to improve matters.
    By Mary G. Lawrence
    July 12, 2018

    “As former associate chief at the Minneapolis Veterans Medical Center eye service, former chair of the national VA eye surgery quality improvement program and former senior executive ophthalmologist coordinating care across the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs for service members who sustained eye and vision injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan, I was most distressed to read of Timothy Connelly’s unfortunate — and unnecessary! — experience trying to schedule an appointment at the VA eye clinic (“My dealings with the VA: In a word … frustrating,” July 5).

    There is no need to tolerate such an operation that does not meet the needs of veterans in a timely manner. In the past, the Minneapolis VA eye clinic has performed as well as — even better than — many private eye clinics. There are plenty of reasons that this VA eye clinic can be brought back into shape. It should be noted that neither Connelly’s experience nor my sympathetic criticism should be leveled at any individual physician or clinician. This is clearly a system failure.

    For many years, the VA eye clinic was run with close academic and clinical affiliation with the University of Minnesota ophthalmology department.

    What has happened between my time at the eye clinic and now? Most crucially, the Minneapolis VA dropped its contract with the U’s ophthalmology department, one of our nation’s best eye-training programs. The contract cancellation may have been motivated by economics, but instead it resulted in diminished access to service for those who have served our country.”

    Full article At: “http://www.startribune.com/vet-s-frustrating-experience-with-va-eye-clinic-unacceptable/488060161/”

  9. All of these merry-go-round terminations will do little to end the antics of a government which has gotten too big and has too much money to spend. This is a classic example of “The Peter Principal” all over again. If anything it might hasten the move to doing away with the Veterans Administration and giving us all a Choice Card of some sort. As a disabled Vietnam Vet I have little faith in the VA getting better for we patients. Privatize it for better care and lower cost.

  10. hey Ben, got anything to say about Fred Harris walking after killing Charles Johnson at VAMC Pineville La… even though the state had evidence to convict him. Just another dead American veteran nobody cares about…

  11. The POTUS is out of the country on a trip to revitalize NATO while the TEMP in charge of the VA decides to make massive overhauls and changes to insure that his inside swamp buddies are covered no matter what.

    I would think that this size of change would be limited and only doable by POTUS authority. This sounds fishy to me either way.

  12. Hey Harrison B. You hit my thoughts exactly. It doesn’t matter whom is put in charge. Of Anything. In our sickening state of GREED and SELF GRATIFICATION, it matters not. Our society is nothing but Me, Me ,Me. And Screw You, You, You. Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely. And when people are put in “CHARGE” anymore, they want COMPLETE CHARGE. They will put “THEIR” people in charge of making sure no one can interfere with their CHARGE! Our society cares about no one but themselves and their cohorts. The rich don’t care about us “commoners”. And most “commoners” don’t give a shit about those rich bastards. That is until the commoners get the power. Then they just bring THEIR buddies along for the ride. This administration, like MOST ALL in history, has done nothing but promise the MOON, while giving NOTHING. To US that is to say. Just look at all the cabinet members that have NO CLUE about the agencies they have been put in charge of. Just the good old buddies club. “Elect me and I will take ALL my friends to DC and give them Cushy, high paying jobs. Sec. of Ed. that has never stepped foot in a public school??!! EPA, a fossil fuel idiot that knew nothing but spending Tax payers $$$ for his own good. And so and so on. This nepotism and buddy, buddy crap is the way of the land. Trump, like MOST, snookered the American people with promises of draining swamp, cleaning up VA. and so on and so on. Yet all he has done is add HIS OWN brand of SCUM to the pond. He could care less about us. Until it is time to vote again. Then he will Bull Shit the American voter into looking over the fact that he did pretty much NOTHING he said on his FIRST Campaign Trail. Every VA hospital is full of “friends and family”. They cover each others asses. And you and I be best to just shut up and take what they give us. OR they will put a FLAG in your file. and put whatever else they want in your file. Even take SHIT OUT OF YOUR FILE. “Oh hell, is vet was suicidal or that he had cancer. Or that he was operated on with a butter knife, by my cousin the septic tank guy. I have been one of the most patriotic Americans my entire 61 years. But I have lost hope. They take pain medications away from 70 year old cancer patients. COLD TURKEY, Just because they CAN. And Not Damn Thing One we can do about it. “THEY” know what is best for you and I. We are idiots that can not even find our way to the slaughter house without their guidance. It is getting REAL close to REVOLUTION TIME. Before they take our guns and we can’t protect ourselves from a Tyrannical Government. NUFF SAID. My Humble Opinion.

    • It’s called CONTROL of the masses. The VA should be dismantled completely, as we all know all too well.

      But this will leave the gov without CONTROL. The gov will NEVER do away with the VA because that act will be an admission to their FAILURE. So on and on it goes – for the corrupt politicians and insiders to use the VA dept. for their own benefit and to extract monies from.

      “What many fear will occur is the reduction of these supposed layers will result in less oversight and greater fraud rather than reducing it.” says Ben in above article. I say NOT enough of us fear the reduction……”

      And don’t even talk to me about the few Congressmen/women who claim they use the VA medical system. Yeah, they go to get a small amount of “minor care” so they can say they go to the VA to everyone. But they have the best medical plans in the country in the private world that they use for anything more than “minor”. Shit on all of them. They feel they are better than everyone else.

      Can’t talk anymore……Too disgusting ! What the fuck is the answer???

  13. #fucktheva
    #fucktheafge

    More games, no recourse for disabled veterans! Just more taxpayer monies going into the upper crust’s pockets!
    Follow the money – find the corruption, waste, fraud and abuse which is the veterans administration!

  14. I am sort of confused. We veteran’s wanted change. How do you get change. Since they are purging is that not a good thing.

    Should all manager’s currently running the show, be relieved of their duties and all new management put into place.

    We all know management has been the problem with the VA. I believe this needs to be done in VHA and VAN, to include Diana Rubins and Kimberly Graves (removed).

    Besides purging all employees must be gathered at each facility and read the Riot act.

    Telling employees from this point on. If you are found to harm veteran’s in anyway and confirmed you will be terminated.

    If you retalate against whistleblowers (termination), break the law, rule , regulations, termination.

    Over and over it’s been management causing the problems. Once new management is in place and employees positions are evualated, if those employees have been found throug a proper review and discovered the employees did little more than (deny), disability claims, in a way to get rid of it and sends it to Appeals or find any improprieties they are to be terminated.

    All administrative actions against employees, must be done or investigated from someone other than the facility where it occurred.

    Management needs to be taken out of the hiring process. Centralized new or in house open positions are to referred to centralized personnel office.

    The central office personnel office (vet), applications. Priority for positions goes to veteran’s.

    Training program’s set up for veteran’s to obtain on the job training. Training is the key.

    The VA loves to tell veteran’s, you do not qualify for certain positions. VA could even open up a school, just for veteran’s to give them tbe opportunities to learn whatever they need to know to qualify for certain positions.

    Did we not want the Swamp drained.

    Confused. Do you see this as a bad thing . What am I missing ?

  15. The other thing that has to happen Like NOW is that CBO has to stop requiring that the VA give back part of their budgetevery year

  16. Yes, yes, yes that’s what I’m talking about! Speak your truth. That’s how issues and problems are addressed and solved (well the solved is iffy) annnd in some cases, the truth could get you killed. But other than that, some very good points have been made today. I’m not a political genius (thanks goes out to Ben for playing that role) but I do have a stake in this game and I like the following points:

    Over and over it’s been management causing the problems. Once new management is in place and employees positions are evaluated, if those employees have been found through a proper review and discovered the employees did little more than (deny), disability claims, in a way to get rid of it and send it to Appeals or find any improprieties they are to be terminated.

    Training program’s set up for veteran’s to obtain on the job training. Training is the key.

    With that being said, good insights by everyone, that political rant by R. Michael Maddox/ Old Hippy was spot on. Thanks for sharing.

    Godspeed

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  18. Do you have doubt that Devlin is being used by the VA only to get the axe once the dirty work is done? From your past reporting on questionable qualifications for the position and lack or moral character it is just a matter of time. What was the result of the last report concerning the handling of Calibre???

  19. When are we going to get a class action going for this PRF bullcrap. It’s stated intention is clearly being abused. Even the slightest investigation activity can reveal that most PRF’s are B. S. Mine was clearly used to deny freedom of speech and silence me by holding my housing over my head. What is stopping this from becoming a legal cause of action? Anybody have in idea?

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