January 8, 2013

YOUR MONEY: Second VA official quits after wasteful conferences spotlighted.

Another top Department of Veterans Affairs official has resigned in the wake of Inspector-General reports criticizing two “Patton parody” employee training conferences, The Washington Examiner has learned.

Alice Muellerweiss, dean of the VA Learning University that hosted the conferences, resigned effective immediately, Rafael Torres, acting assistant secretary for human resources and administration, said in an announcement to his staff Friday afternoon.

The VA confirmed her departure in a statement today issued in response to this newspaper.

Muellerweiss’ former boss, John Sepulveda, left VA in September 2012 after a VA Inspector General’s probe found hundreds of thousands of dollars were wasted at the training conferences, held in Orlando in July and August of 2011.

Sepulveda quit the day before the IG reported that as much as $762,000 was wasted on the conferences for a parody video of the movie “Patton,” trinkets including pedometers and water bottles, and overpriced food and drinks.

The total cost of the conferences was at least $6.1 million, but the IG report said sloppy record-keeping by VA made it impossible to determine a precise cost figure.

The country’s in the very best of hands.