More than 500 officials from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) have been terminated from their positions since Donald Trump became president in January, according to publicly shared data from the VA.

Last Friday, the VA became the first federal agency to publicly share data regarding “adverse employee actions”; including demotions, removals, and suspensions. Weekly updates will be posted at www.va.gov/accountability.

The above-mentioned measures will increase transparency at the VA, said VA Secretary David Shulkin via statement:

Under this administration, VA is committed to becoming the most transparent organization in government. Together with the Accountability bill the president signed into law recently, this additional step will continue to shine a light on the actions we’re taking to reform the culture at VA.

 

Veterans and taxpayers have a right to know what we’re doing to hold our employees accountable and make our personnel actions transparent. Posting this information online for all to see, and updating it weekly, will do just that.

 

All monetary settlements with a VA employee above $5,000 now require a senior official’s approval, added Shulkin:

Taxpayers need to know that we will engage in good faith settlement negotiations, where required by third parties, but will look to settle with employees only when they clearly have been wronged or when settlement is otherwise in Veterans’ and taxpayers’ best interests, and not as a matter of ordinary business. We’re changing to a culture of accountability at VA, and this is an important step in that direction.


In June, Congress passed the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act, described by NPR as "making it easier for [the VA] to fire employees for misconduct while better protecting staffers who bring wrongdoing to light."

 

H/T Bo Erickson and Ellee Watson at CBS News

 

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