By Jonathan Kaupanger
In a continuing effort to expand transparency of the agency, the Department of Veterans Affairs made public a list of all adverse employee actions taken since Jan. 20. The VA is the first federal agency to make information like this public.
“Under this administration, VA is committed to becoming the most transparent organization in government,” said VA Secretary, Dr. David J. Shulkin. “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.”
The Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection (OAWP) was created at the VA as a direct result of the bill recently signed into law by the president. OAWP publishes the “Adverse Actions Report” here, with an updated copy added weekly.
The list includes terminations, demotions and any suspensions that are longer than 14 days and goes back to the beginning of this administration. The list does not include employee names, for privacy reasons, but does give the position and region where the employee worked as well as the type of disciplinary action and the date it was taken.
Earlier this year, again to improve the VA’s transparency, Shulkin announced the Access to Care website, which allows veterans to check actual wait times for all VA medical facilities. This website was a result of the wait time scandal at the VA’s medical center in Phoenix, Arizona. There was a secret waiting list and many veterans died while waiting for access to treatment.
“Veterans and taxpayers have a right to know what we’re doing to hold our employees accountable and make our personnel actions transparent,” said Shulkin. “Posting this information online for all to see, and updating it weekly will do just that.”