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VA's Gibson: We must protect whistleblowers

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.”

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sergio noble

June 30, 2014 - 6:16pm

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.

E.W.McKinney

June 26, 2014 - 7:13pm

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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