VA to review bonus for Pittsburgh VA Director
This story is pretty ridiculous. Or rather, this story is good, but the fact that at some point they were planning on giving a 67k bonus is pretty unconscionable. From the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
After a growing chorus of congressmen, veterans, U.S. Veterans Affairs employees and family of victims of a Legionnaires' outbreak in Pittsburgh expressed their outrage, the VA said late Friday that it is reviewing a presidential award and bonus given to a regional director three days after a federal report blamed lax management for the outbreak.
Though the VA was silent about the award and $62,895 bonus since the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette first asked about it on Wednesday, it commented Friday about the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award given to regional director Michael Moreland at a black-tie dinner in Washington, D.C., on April 26.
"VA is committed to providing the high quality care that veterans have earned and deserve," national VA spokesman Mark Ballesteros said in an emailed statement. "VA is conducting a review of the nomination of this Presidential Rank Award recipient and will take any appropriate action when that review is complete."
That statement came after two area congressmen, the American Legion, the head of a union representing VA employees and the chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee all issued statements in the previous 24 hours, joining victims' families in condemning the award and bonus, and calling for the VA to rescind both.
The article goes on to include a quote from National Commander Koutz, but it's only part of a longer quote that I liked. So, here is the quote given to Jeff Miller, the Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee:
“The American Legion is concerned that the VA doesn’t seem to be taking their own Inspector General reports seriously. It’s astonishing the VA IG report would find a specific facility failed to follow long-existing guidelines which resulted in the death of five veterans, and yet within a week’s time the Director of that region should be singled out for the government’s highest employee honor. It defies all logic. Even the government’s own guidance is clear. The Office of Personnel Management clearly states nominees for this award must not be involved in any investigation or situation which would cause embarrassment. I certainly think this qualifies as such a case.” – James E. Koutz, National Commander, The American Legion