VA's Gibson: We must protect whistleblowers

Acting Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson today released a statement following the Office of Special Counsel’s letter to the president regarding VA whistleblowers:

“At VA, we depend on the service of VA employees and leaders who place the interests of veterans above and beyond self-interest, and who live by VA’s core values of Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, and Excellence.

“I respect and welcome the letter and the insights from the Office of Special Counsel. I am deeply disappointed not only in the substantiation of allegations raised by whistleblowers, but also in the failures within VA to take whistleblower complaints seriously.

“VA accepts the OSC recommendations in today’s letter to the President. Accordingly, I have directed a comprehensive review of all aspects of the Office of Medical Inspector’s operation, to be completed within 14 days. This will include a review of process, structure, resourcing, and how recommendations are tracked and reviewed. Additionally, this review will include consideration of personnel actions and will designate an official to assess the conclusions and the proposed corrective actions in OSC reports.”

Gibson sent a message to all VA employees on June 13, 2014, regarding the importance of whistleblower protection and has met with employees at VA medical centers across the country to reemphasize that message.

“I reminded all 341,000 of our employees that we must protect whistleblowers and create workplace environments that enable full participation of employees,” Gibson added. “As I told our workforce, intimidation or retaliation – not just against whistleblowers, but against any employee who raises a hand to identify a problem, make a suggestion, or report what may be a violation in law, policy, or our core values – is absolutely unacceptable. I will not tolerate it in our organization.”


  1. He isn't helping me: to Sloan, robert.mcdonald, bcc: me, bcc: aa Mr Gibson, Thank You! Its OSC case #MA-15-2435 and #DI-15-2454. Last week House Committee on Veterans Affairs Oversight and Investigations Eric Hannel wrote: "We are moving forward on this issue and we have asked the OIG to properly investigate and report back to Congress on this issue. To that end, OIG has asked that you complete the attached form to cover confidentiality issues. Please complete the form, sign it, and return it to me by fax or scan/email." To give a quick debriefing, my immediate supervisor was not addressing my complaints of sexual harassment for an 8 month period, and along with not passing my complaints up the chain of command, in October he changed my approved sick leave for an eye surgery at the VA (I am a former Marine and also a patient) to AWOL, then served me an AWOL Notice and threatened to terminate me if I tried to have it changed. I have that conversation on audio tape. In October HR made him change it back to approved and I was paid, the secretary who changed it was fired. Afterward, in December, the Assistant Director of the Miami VA opened up a fact finding regarding the sexual harassment, but I was fired before it was complete. I was told by a coworker the immediate supervisor would get a hit against me and have me killed (have that on audio) and the day after Christmas the supervisor said to me,"we have to get through the day without killing each other". I reported this to HR and they had me talk to a Miami VA Detective and report it all. I have that on audio tape as well. The following PDF attachments will be: **my OIG disclosures 1) Administrative Leave/termination 2.) My 11 page appeal 3.) emails from the Assistant Director 4.)emails from VA Detective R. Toro 5.) emails from IT Tech regarding my leave 6.) email note from my VA surgical coordinator 7.)my annual review and letter of recommendation 8.) progress notes from therapy to deal with the sexual workplace harassments 9.) VA's TMS training module on Hippa and CWT patients, yet the Miami VA PSAS Dept uses CWT patient's in the stockroom and patient's VISTA/CPRS access to see what to issue- breach of security Thank You for helping to clean up the VA and make it better for us as Patients and Employees Semper Fi, Aaron J Todd (786)399-5398 On Mon, Apr 6, 2015 at 11:01 AM, Gibson, Sloan <Sloan.Gibson I’ll check. Sloan Sloan Gibson Deputy Secretary U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs > Date: Monday, April 6, 2015 at 10:57 AM To: "U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs" < Subject: [EXTERNAL] Mr Gibson, With regards to the VA Honesty Project, could you please look into my whistleblower case regarding the Miami VA? Its been two months and I just want my job back... I was retaliated against for whistleblowing and is currently under review by OSC. Very Respectfully, Aaron Todd (786)399-5398
  2. I am exited and delighted by the fact that we finally woke up and hired an individual with private industry success. My experience of government employees and their managers at VAMC's is that they don't have a backbone or the guts to confront problem employees and managers. These people working there need to understand that the customer is everything, who without they do not earn a living, raise families and enjoy a roof over their heads. The culture of the past is coming to a screahing halt, thanks to the Secretary of Veterans Affairs.
  3. Had I stayed with the Settle VA's treatment of over 5 months duration I would be dead. Physical Therapy and water pills does not cure 8 cancer tumors the size of tennis balls in my mid section area. Had I not changed medical doctors when I did I would not be writing this. The VA claim that I had filed early that year to re-examine my 50 percent service connected disability rating assigned 40 years before to see how much they had changed may have had something to do with their treatments of my medical problems. My new rating of 80 per cent took over 30 months to be awarded. Asbestos exposure was denied on my claim as the VA reported they were unable to obtain any records from the USCG to report my exposure to asbestos. The USCG pay office has written me that they have informed The VA that their back pay settlement to me was not correct and I was advised to contyact the VA concerning this matter which I did. The VA replied over a year ago that if any further information was needed from me that I would be contacted. No further contact has been made to me by the VA. I have passé 82 years of age and buried almost all my friends so if the VA can stall this a bit longer I will probably join most of my friends and they can cross me off of their list of old veterans.
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