Who’s Watching the Hen House? VA Officials Say Whistleblower Protections Aren’t Necessary

Clearly, someone feels there is a need to take a closer look at the way the U.S. Veterans Administration handles reports of misconduct and subsequent treatment of employees who blow the whistle on wrongdoers. The House Committee on Veterans Affairs drafted legislation that would protect VA employees who decided to report any issues to their supervisors – and also to their supervisors’ superiors, if necessary.

However, Meghan Flanz, director of the department’s Office of Accountability Review, believes employee protections are unnecessary. Further, she added, new processes may be unworkable, given the current system that, according to Flanz, works well now.

The proposed bill would protect anyone who blows the whistle on a VA employee, making sure that managers cannot retaliate against them for reporting alleged mismanagement and fraud. If enacted, the law would force the VA to penalize managers who retaliate against whistleblowers.

Further scrutiny of Ms. Flanz’ position comes down to dollars and cents. If enacted, the bill says managers would have to pay personally to remediate issues of retaliation. So, when she says the proposed Veterans Affairs Retaliation Prevention Act of 2015 is not “workable,” she is referring to the fact that the VA will have trouble finding people to take managers’ jobs if they may have to foot the bill for retaliatory actions against whistleblowers.

Ms. Flanz said the measure would “leave supervisors too fearful about the possible penalties for retaliation to effectively manage their employees.”

VA managers, incidentally, get paid well — much as $170,000 per year.

Wrongdoing cannot go unpunished. If you or someone you know has information that would lead the government to uncovering fraud, you may be entitled to a portion of the recovered proceeds. Contact experienced whistleblower attorney Ross Begelman for a consultation about your case.

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