Veterans Affairs

  • From Army sniper to IT professional: One vet’s story of his transition to civilian life

    It may seem like a leap to go from Army sniper to a career helping federal agencies deliver great online customer service and software development practices. But that’s the story of Randy Tharp. A wounded warrior of two tours of duty in Iraq, he’s also had two tours of duty as a federal civilian employee before heading to the Five-Nine Group.

  • Verna Jones, Executive Director, American Legion

    This Veterans Day will be one of transition at the Veterans Affairs Department. New secretary Bob McDonald has taken steps to minimize delays at veterans health centers across the country and show he’s holding employees accountable. Now he wants to embark on a major reorganization of the department. One of the people watching closely is Verna Jones, the new executive director of the American Legion. Jones tells Federal News Radio’s Emily Kopp that she sees progress at the VA but there’s still so much more to improve.

  • VA chief: 1,000 workers face disciplinary action

    MATTHEW DALY Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — The Veterans Affairs Department is considering disciplinary action against more than 1,000 employees as it struggles to correct systemic problems that led to long wait times for veterans…

  • McDonald says ‘biggest reorganization of VA’ to rebuild trust is underway

    VA Secretary Bob McDonald said the new “Road to Veterans Day Action Review” released Thursday will help change the culture of the agency. The three-pronged strategy is part of McDonald’s efforts during his first 100 days in office.

  • Ellen Edmonson, Veterans Health Administration Telehealth Services

    Veterans made 2 million virtual health care visits in fiscal 2014. Whether it’s having a consult without leaving your living room or having medical data collected and monitored remotely, telehealth makes more care possible for many vets who can’t make it to a clinic or don’t have one nearby. Ellen Edmonson is deputy chief consultant of the Veterans Health Administration Telehealth Services. She joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive to describe how telehealth works.

  • Allison Hickey, Under Secretary for Benefits, Veterans Affairs Department

    The Veterans Affairs Department has broken its own records in processing disability and pension claims. The agency made its way through 1.3 million claims in fiscal 2014. That surpasses 2013’s record by 150,000. One result is that VA’s disability claims backlog fell to its lowest number in four years. It’s down 60 percent from the peak of March 2013. These numbers put VA on track to meet its 2015 goals. Allison Hickey is the undersecretary for benefits at the VA. She joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive to explain how the agency was able to plow through so many cases.

  • Latest employee viewpoint survey shows dissatisfaction with VA’s senior leaders

    In an agency rocked by scandal and mismanagement, employees at the Veterans Affairs Department are becoming less pleased with their senior leaders. According to data from the Office of Personnel Management’s 2014 Employee Viewpoint Survey, only 37 percent of employees surveyed said they are satisfied with their senior leaders’ policies and practices. The number is down from 40 percent in the 2013 survey.

  • Melissa Starinsky, Chancellor, VA Acquisition Academy

    The acquisition workforce is issue number one for just about every person Federal News Radio has talked to as part of our special report “The Missing Pieces of Procurement Reform”. Today’s focus – taking stock for the future. Melissa Starinsky is chancellor of the VA Acquisition Academy. On In Depth with Francis Rose, she said they’re realizing some success in training the acquisition workforce of the future.

  • VA exec at center of FedBid procurement scandal retires

    Susan Taylor, the Veterans Health Administration deputy chief procurement officer, resigned and retired Oct. 14. She sent an email to staff announcing her decision as VA had started the process to fire her.

  • VA moves to ax 4 senior execs in scandal response

    MATTHEW DALY Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — The Veterans Affairs Department said it is firing four senior executives as officials move to crack down on wrongdoing following a nationwide scandal over long wait times for…

  • VA begins process to remove executive at center of FedBid scandal

    Sloan Gibson, VA’s deputy secretary, said he’s proposed the removal of Susan Taylor, the deputy chief procurement officer at the Veterans Health Administration. Gibson will use the new authorities provided by Congress and President Barack Obama in August under the Veterans’ Access to Care through Choice, Accountability, and Transparency Act of 2014.

  • Susan Tsui Grundmann, Chairman, Merit Systems Protection Board

    A new law signed by the President last month gives the Veterans Affairs secretary lots of discretion to fire or demote members of the Senior Executive Service. The law came in response to management problems resulting in long wait times for admittance to VA facilities. The law means SESers at VA work under a different set of civil service rules than those in the rest of government. It also imposes new burdens on the Merit Systems Protection Board. The board issued an interim final rule on how the agency will carry out the new mandate. Chairwoman Susan Tsui Grundmann joined Tom Temin on the Federal Drive to discuss the comments the board received about the rule and what the law does require of the board.

  • Energy reverses course on plan to hire VA executive at center of FedBid procurement fraud

    The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management planned to bring on Susan Taylor, the Veterans Health Administration’s deputy chief procurement officer, but now has changed its mind. Taylor is accused by the VA inspector general of committing procurement fraud, lying to investigators and having a conflict of interest by promoting FedBid.

  • VA IG unwinds tale of procurement fraud, abuse involving senior agency officials, FedBid

    The Veterans Affairs inspector general issued a report alleging the deputy chief procurement officer at the Veterans Health Administration used her position to promote and award a contract to FedBid, a reverse auction vendor, and improperly acted as an agent of the vendor, creating a conflict of interest.