Federal employees must be accountable

Record at VA shows what happens when they are immune from discipline

Government employees should not be disciplined or fired without good cause, certainly not for political reasons. That seems obvious.

Just as plain is that civil service laws should not protect rogue employees who cheat taxpayers by failing to do their jobs.

Critics of new legislation aimed at the Department of Veterans Affairs insist it will open the door to abuses including wrongful firings. That is unlikely, in view of numerous civil service safeguards that will remain in place.

Congress approved the new rules after years of VA failure to hold employees accountable for lapses in care of military veterans. Horror stories of those who served being forced to wait months, even years, for medical care they need from the VA continue to surface regularly.

Meanwhile, a member of Congress noted earlier this year that he had been able to find names of fewer than six VA employees who lost their jobs because of the original wait-list scandal and illegal attempts to cover it up.

At times, those who defend strict civil service protections appear to be more concerned with preserving the “rights” of dishonest, sometimes dangerous VA employees than they are with protecting veterans.

One critic of the new rules said the key to improving VA performance is not firing more people, but providing better training of managers.

Come on. How much is training going to change the attitude of a VA supervisor who places an ill veteran on a wait list for over a year, then tries to cover up his misdeed?

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