MESSAGE FROM THE SECRETARY
Transparency and Accountability Adverse Actions Posting
Please see my video message (text below) regarding actions we announced today on public posting of VA’s adverse employee actions:
Two weeks ago, President Trump signed into law the long-sought VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act. Today, we are taking another bold step forward in modernizing VA and holding ourselves accountable for the work we do for Veterans.
Beginning today, we’re making public a list of adverse personnel actions taken across VA since January 20, posting the list online at http://www.va.gov/accountability. Veterans and taxpayers have a right to know what we’re doing to hold our employees accountable, and posting this information online for all to see, and updating it weekly, will do that.
The list includes terminations, demotions, and suspensions over 14 days since the new Administration came into office on January 20. More categories of actions may be added later.
To protect employees’ privacy, we will not include names on the list, but we will give information on the employee’s position, VA region or administration, and type of adverse or disciplinary action taken.
We are the first Federal agency to do this, and it demonstrates our commitment to making VA the most transparent and accountable organization in government.
I have also announced today that I am now requiring a senior official to personally approve monetary settlements with employees over $5,000. Taxpayers need to know that we will engage in good faith settlement negotiations, where required by third parties, but will look to settle with employees only when they clearly have been wronged or when settlement is otherwise in Veterans’ and taxpayers’ best interests, and not as a matter of ordinary business.
We should all be proud of our work at VA and of each other as we serve our Nation’s Veterans together. These new actions will show the public that we are serious about protecting Veterans from the misdeeds of the few employees who do not live by our values.
We are changing to a culture of accountability at VA, and these new actions, together with the new accountability law, are public evidence of our progress.
David J. Shulkin, M.D.