WASHINGTON – As dysfunction and chaos continue to proliferate at the Department of Veterans Affairs, the union representing 250,000 working people at the agency have called on Congress to conduct oversight hearings to “stop this egregious and irresponsible behavior that is hurting our nation’s veterans.”
In a letter sent today from American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. to: Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Chairman Phil Roe, Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Jon Tester, and House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Ranking Member Tim Walz, Cox says the Veterans Benefits Administration has used the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017 to “target frontline employees, many of whom are veterans themselves, and who are essential for veterans to receive the benefits they earned.”
In the letter, Cox said he wrote to Senate and House Veterans’ Affairs leadership to “express our concern about the overreach and abuse of power from the leadership of the Department of Veterans Affairs,” stemming from the so-called “Accountability Act.”
Cox calls “the greatest abuse of the powers,” the “removal of frontline employees without adequate opportunity to defend their jobs or improve their performance,” and cited the disproportionate use of the firing bill at the VA.
According to AFGE’s analysis of published data on terminations occurring after the passage of the “Accountability Act,” 1,646 employees have been removed – with only 18 of them being supervisors.
Cox goes on to mention the void of leadership at the VA since the firing of Secretary David Shulkin, which has made the situation “more dire every day,” and asked for Congressional leaders to intervene into the situation that is “rapidly devolving.”
To read the entirety of the letter, visit www.afge.org/ofoletter