The Veterans Affairs hospital scheduling scandal has led to political ramifications that continue to move through Congress. Last year, in an effort to look like they were doing something about the crisis, Congress enacted legislation that allowed for the quick firing of senior executives within the VA.
This law virtually eliminated the due process rights of those executives, including leaving the Merit Systems Protection Board, the agency that is supposed to review these types of adverse actions against federal employees, with almost no time to review what could be very complex appeals.
A great deal of the fault in the VA scheduling scandal rests with Congress, as they have been busy pandering to political interests by cutting government spending. Sadly, while the phrase suggests removing nameless, faceless bureaucrats whose only propose is to generate meaningless red tape, reducing the size of the federal government has much more concrete implications.
It means fewer doctors, nurses and other medical staff in VA hospitals that are attempting to cope with both the aging population of Vietnam veterans, many of whom are now in their 60s and with the ever-growing numbers of injured veterans from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Rather that address this very real problem, Congress decides to make matters worse and create a law that would extend the destruction of due process rights to all employees within the VA.
The difficultly with the argument that we need to be able to fire federal workers faster begs the question of how would we know which employees to fire? If the new bill becomes law, surely it could be manipulated by corrupt managers to rapidly fire whistleblowers and further entrench their power.
The issues at the VA are complex and simple and poorly thought-out laws like this will not fix those issues.
Source: govexec.com, “It May Soon Be Easier to Fire Any VA Employee, Not Just Top Execs,” Kellie Lunney, June 25, 2015