At the end of July, Bob McDonald was confirmed and sworn in as the new
Secretary of Veterans Affairs, replacing Eric Shinseki. After the U.S.
Senate voted 97-0 to confirm President Obama's choice, McDonald made
vows to work on fixing many of the ailments plaguing the Department of
Veterans Affairs, including promises to "aggressively" fire
problematic employees within the VA. According to many congressional members
and veterans groups, however, dismissals aren't moving fast enough.
In a recent piece aired on WSB-TV, the news source reported on the increasing
criticism aimed at McDonald and questions as to why he's taking so
long to handle important issues and fire problem executives. In particular,
McDonald has faced a great deal of backlash for delays in the firing of
Phoenix VA official Sharon Helman, who was found to have pressured employees
into manipulating wait times for veterans. Helman is currently on paid
administrative leave and has been so for almost six months.
During an interview, Founding Partner Debra D'Agostino told WSB-TV
that the issue largely rests with federal employment law. According to
D'Agostino, federal employees can't be as easily fired as employees
in the private sector because "they do have due process rights with
regards to their jobs. They have the right to have a proposal, to be told
what it is they are being charged with; they have the right to see the
evidence against them, and they have the right to reply to that."
You can see Attorney D'Agostino's interview on the video below.