A bill introduced earlier this month to take back bonuses given to employees could be used to retaliate against whistleblowers looking to speak out against mismanaged care for veterans.
“We can’t forget that it was strong-arm tactics like this that were used to silence and retaliate against employees who blew the whistle on secret waitlists,” AFGE President J. David Cox Sr. said of the bill sponsored by Rep. Jeff Miller. “It’s time to turn the page on morale-busting measures like Rep. Miller’s proposal and focus on the mission of delivering top-quality care to America’s veterans.”
With Congress’ passage of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014, which made it easier for the VA to fire senior execs and capped VA bonuses, President Cox said the focus should be on ensuring facilities have the staff and resources necessary to provide world-class care to America’s veterans. Accountability comes from building a strong culture of transparency and collaboration at the VA with an open, fair and unbiased system, not doubling-down on tools that perpetuate a climate of fear and retaliation.
“The VA needs more vehicles to reward good behavior and attract talented employees, not a cudgel to silence dissenting voices,” added President Cox. “Secretary McDonald has charted a promising course for the VA, and our veterans will be best served if Congress follows suit and works to improve care and working conditions at the VA.”