Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson warned VA administrators on Friday that intimidation or retaliation against anyone who calls attention to problems within the veterans’ health system will not be tolerated.
Federal investigators are examining allegations that VA supervisors retaliated against 37 employees who filed “whistleblower” complaints. It included some who complained about improper scheduling practices at the heart of a growing scandal within the VA system.
At a news conference Friday after a visit to a San Antonio VA facility, Gibson said the department will follow laws that forbid whistleblower retaliation.
He said employees of any organization need to feel they can speak out and Gibson warned against anything that would create a climate that would stifle that source. “I think that is wrong. It is absolutely unacceptable.” Gibson said.
Laws protecting those who would expose corruption in the federal bureaucracy are in place because there is just so much of it to expose. Sadly, the bureaucratic ethos is all about job preservation, consequences be damned.
Quickly identifying and firing those accused of retaliating would be a good place to start to show they’re taking this seriously.