WASHINGTON – The Department of Veterans Affairs Equitable Employee Accountability Act of 2015 (S. 1856) provides valuable new tools for increasing accountability at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), said the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) in a statement to the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on Wednesday.
Introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, the Ranking Member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, S. 1856 is the only legislation before the Senate VA committee that provides a multi-faceted, commonsense approach to ensuring real accountability. The bill gives managers broader authority to address dangers in the workplace. Equally important, S. 1856 ensures that managers make full use of the many accountability tools they already have in current law to address misconduct and poor performance. The bill will:
AFGE strongly encourages the Senate to pass Senator Blumenthal’s bill and reject S. 1082 which would give VA management greater power to silence whistleblowers and create a culture of fear for front-line workers -- an environment similar to the one that led to the wait list scandal in 2014.
"In addition to the work of front-line employees, S.1856 is the only real path toward accountability at the VA," said AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. "It ensures swift accountability for anyone who threatens veterans’ care without eliminating the vital rights of every other hardworking VA employee. It is clearly the only solution that addresses concerns on both sides of the aisle."
"Firing bills are not the answer to the VA's problems," added AFGE National VA Council President Alma Lee. "What the VA needs the most is more managers who support the brave front-line employees who speak up for veterans every day and recognize they already have the needed tools to address gaps in performance."
To read AFGE’s statement for the record please click here.