Federal Practice Group Worldwide Service founding partner
Debra D'Agostino was recently reached for comment on the current case of two embattled
Department of Veterans Affairs executives. The executives, Diana Rubens
and Kimberly Graves, were recently found guilty of manipulating the VA
hiring process for personal gain, but avoided penalties due to the administrative
court’s recognition that other VA executives have acted similarly.
Rubens and Graves have now returned to their positions, but lawmakers
and other VA officials are pushing to pursue new penalties for the offenses.
Regardless of the technicalities that allowed Rubens and Graves to dodge
penalties and keep their jobs, Attorney D'Agostino still believes
that the rulings send a clear message that the VA needs to enforce stricter
protocols and handle disciplinary matters itself. "That’s really
the agency’s burden—they have to treat everyone equally and
if they don’t they have to lay out the reasons why," she told
Stars and Stripes. "The VA botched it up again."
Specifically, Rubens and Graves were found guilty of transferring subordinates
out of positions they wanted for themselves—and then pocketing relocation
benefits. The administrative investigation found that they were not the
only VA executives that engaged in this practice.
To read more about this VA case and D'Agostino's comments, visit
the Stars and Stripes article here.