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GAO: VA needs to better manage employee misconduct data

The Veterans Affairs Department needs to improve their systems used to address employee misconduct and prevent retaliation, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report.

VA maintains 12 information systems that are used to report and manage employee misconduct, but not all of the systems collect pertinent information related to disciplinary actions, such as the offense or date of occurrence.

“Without collecting reliable misconduct and disciplinary action data on all cases department-wide, VA’s reporting and decision making on misconduct are impaired,” the report states.

GAO estimates that approximately 3,600 of files they reviewed did not contain required documentation that employees were adequately informed of their rights during adjudication procedures—such as their entitlement to be represented by an attorney.

“The absence of files and associated documentation suggests that individuals may not have always received fair and reasonable due process as allegations of misconduct were adjudicated. Nevertheless, VA’s Office of Human Resource Management does not regularly assess the extent to which files and documentation are retained consistently with applicable requirements.“

Furthermore, GAO found that one in 10 VA employees who brought issues before the Office of Special Counsel were discipline that same year, compared to one out of 100 VA employees overall. Many cases where disciplined occurred were rank-and-file employees, which indicates that senior level workers often go unpunished.

GAO made 16 recommendations to VA, including the development and implementation of a guidance to collect complete and reliable misconduct and disciplinary-action data; direct the Office of Human Resource Management to routinely assess the extent to which misconduct-related files and documents are retained consistently with applicable requirements; and direct applicable facility and program offices to adhere to VA’s policies regarding misconduct adjudication documentation.

Reader comments

Tue, Aug 7, 2018

Just privatize the VA and get it over. Than most all the problems will be gone

Tue, Aug 7, 2018 Randy North Carolina

The Accountability Act was designed as a test for President Trumputinkim and his EO's. The number of employees fired v/s management was astounding! 99% employee to 1% management/supervision!

Mon, Aug 6, 2018 George Saufley

These issues are a part of many agencies. Some do a better job of management than other. Employees in thew middle of it can't see the barn from the door. Been there myself. When you have managers like Donald Trump who are looking for easy "quick fixes" and misbehaves himself it destroys the morale and motivation of the agencies employees. It's amazing how many "management blunders" are exposed if you remain in-contact with employees and they have nothing to loose by confessing.

Mon, Aug 6, 2018

Start looking at the top management , including the Director. They yield power and punishment. You can be a great worker, but the manager may not like you-so your job is on the line. Friends of the Director and executive nurse get new titles for new jobs and hefty raises.They are one step ahead and these new positions are not performance related nor education related positions-pays to be friends with top management.

Mon, Aug 6, 2018

It is impossible to discipline with threats from the union and non support from the upper echelon. Managers and supervisors are in front of the firing lines. Example ,Six months of notes and the employee on drugs I threatened to quit. There is no supportive leadership nor HR personnel interested.

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Edward A. Zurndorfer Certified Financial Planner
Mike Causey Columnist
Tom Fox VP for Leadership and Innovation, Partnership for Public Service
Mathew B. Tully Legal Analyst

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