Accountability not chaos

August 20, 2018

This newspaper story out of San Diego is getting a lot of attention because of its claim that President Trump’s attempts to reform the Veterans Administration are introducing “chaos” and harming both the employees and veterans.  Judging from some of the comments, it didn’t convince too many veterans who’ve had personal experience with the VA, and for good reason.  The “chaos” described in the article sounds more like long-overdue accountability.

The article quotes a union official as saying that he’s in a constant battle to protect VA workers from firing, that it’s as though the VA is determined to fire as many employees as possible, and “we’re spending more time worrying about our jobs than doing them.”

First of all, if you’re spending more time worrying about getting fired than doing your job, then you should be fired.  News flash: that’s how employment works everywhere except in government.  Secondly, the article points out that 2,743 VA employees have been fired since Trump took office. Please note that the VA has over 300,000 employees, so that’s less than 1% of the work force.  Considering the VA’s record when Trump took over, I’m astounded that it’s less than 1%.  That’s not testament to Trump being mean or trying to politicize the VA, but to how difficult it is to fire government workers, no matter how richly it’s deserved. 


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Naturally, about a dozen unions are suing the Trump Administration, claiming that his orders to impose accountability on government union workers violate the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978.  I wouldn’t be all surprised if that were true.  So while Congress is in the hands of the Republicans, how about creating a Civil Service Reform Act of 2018, one that actually includes accountability right in the job descriptions?

http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/military/sd-me-va-chaos-20180817-story.html

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Comments 1-12 of 12

  • Ted Sarosdy

    08/23/2018 12:53 PM

    Governor,

    Love your email every day. Thanks for it!!

    I got to church with Jeff and Sarah Bennett. Jeff is such a great music director for our church. We are very blessed.

    My wife and I live in Houston now, but we lived in TXK for 19 years, from '94-'13. We still have a house there on Pine St. She grew up at downtown First Baptist (on the TX side). We met in Dallas in '82, and were married by James Pleitz at Park Cities Baptist.

    The point of my email is a question for your daughter Sarah. Can Mr Trump just stop taking questions from the media about the Russia witch hunt? No one cares except the far left and the media. It is so distracting, and is not focusing on all the good that our country stands for and is doing around the world, and more importantly, here at home. Sarah does a fantastic job. I saw the recent interview with you two.

    Many thanks for your ministry, and your service to our country.

    By His grace,

    Ted

  • Judi Duffy

    08/21/2018 04:23 PM

    Gov. Mike, I cannot be but totally flummoxed by "civil servants" being accountable in their jobs. I've been around the block a time or two, and I have never ceased to be amazed at the attitude evidenced by these people, be it low-level job or higher up: "What me? Work for you?!? You gotta be kidding. You public is here to make ME look good, not the other way around". Term limits, snooty clerks, life-long desks that do nothing but fill the job description, extraordinarily high retirement packages, and that ugly attitude of superiority has got to go. That's the SWAMP, and it, like a cancer, is eating US alive. Yes, we need accountability here big time. Everybody else has to pass go, these people always get a get-outta-jail-free card, and keep on gouging us all the way. No wonder the DC bubble-heads were crying their eyes out when Pres. Trump was elected: they had to know that their free ride was over. One of our governor's (Hawaii) just finished his fourth (4th) civil servant job and is collecting four (4) retirement checks, and quite frankly, I never did see what he was good for.

  • Sam Sayger

    08/21/2018 09:30 AM

    As a Disabled Veteran, I have been using the Memphis VA Hospital since 1997 and have experienced the ineptness of far too many workers there. I remember from early on, an old fellow (who appeared in good health) who worked there. Each and every time I went to an appointment there, I found him in the exact same hallway, doing the exact same thing! The "thing" was: he was leaning on a huge dust mop and NEVER was he mopping the floor! Instead, he was talking with fellow workers and apparently enjoying himself because as I went from door to door to appts, there he would be. Everyone knew he was there because that is all he did I suppose. Thru the years this continued until I guess he achieved retirement.
    And there is also the memory of one of my trips to the ER where walking up to a clerk to be admitted I was not at all l surprised to read: "BORED BEFORE I EVEN GOT HERE! emblazoned on her T shirt as a greeting.
    Her subsequent actions plainly showed that she was indeed "bored" and not at all interested in doing her job.
    Also, there have been all too many phone calls to different offices there where I had to let the phone ring more than one hundred times, only to have my call ended when some "BORED EMPLOYEE" would lift the reciever only to hang it up again.
    I suppose it may only have been another "bored employee"!
    God help us.
    Sam Sayger

  • William lage

    08/20/2018 07:22 PM

    Can I tell you how the outstanding personnel at VAWestPalmBeach locked me up for no reason given ytd. 15 months ago.
    Refused access t my VA PsyD of 7YRS on property
    Forced to take known dangerous meds.
    Lied to by DIRECTOR in letter.
    Verberaly abused by patient advocate personnel have recordings.
    Director Katen-Bahensky fired last 2 directors positions at private hospitals. 2.2 million SEVERANCE package.
    Veteran care demands higher than civilians. She couldn't make it there?
    55 million "mis-spent" employee allowed to transfer?
    How much more do you want?
    2/5 Star Rating 2016/7
    Dept vet affairs suicide report states:
    rate of suicide among Veterans using VHA services is higher than the rate among Veterans not using VHA services......

  • Lea Harrelson

    08/20/2018 06:51 PM

    The Unions of today are Not the Unions of my Grandpas' day, & he was a Union President! He was Fair Minded & did Everything to Ensure it's members were taken care of, Not taken Advantage of! Only thing Union Bosses Care about these days, is How Much Money ($) they can Keep Sucking Out of their Workers, to Flood their Own Pockets! It's Truly DISGUSTING! Unions Desperately Need To Be DISSOLVED! All Workers And Our Veterans DESERVE MUCH MUCH MORE!

  • Milagros Arguello

    08/20/2018 01:48 PM

    Mike, t
    Donors if gofundme for Atrizk are Hillary's Obama's Soros the whole gang that created a coup to exonerate Hillary a d abort Trump's candidacy or overthrow his presidency.

  • Mary Tomlin

    08/20/2018 01:47 PM

    I have been wondering (and haven't seen it mentioned anywhere) if the money in Peter Strzok's GoFundMe account is from folks who said, "continue what you are doing. If you get fired, we'll take care of you." Why else would any reasonable person support him?

  • Amelia Little

    08/20/2018 01:33 PM

    I have long wondered how government workers--regardless of work output. attendance, etc etc etc, can actually still be employed--receiving MY tax dollars to pay for a work ethic that, in the real world, would have garnered a firing from the first incident. To be fair, there are millions of government workers who are diligent in their work and attendance...just as in about any job/career, there are those bad apples that give others a bad name. And, I was even more amazed that the likes of lois lerner and her running of the IRS and getting away with pleading the 5th (something that, in real life, would land one in jail) and get essentially a paid vacation--and then be reassigned without a cut in pay. So, when strzok also got to be reassigned, I wasn't so surprised.

    As for the VA--to the union official--those who ARE doing their jobs (correctly) should not have to worry. It's those who give instructions to workers about falsifying records, corruption in the higher ranks, those are the ones who should be fired. Instead of blaming those attempting to better the VA experience FOR THE VETERANS, blame those who have been dishonest and lazy and just collecting my tax money for their paychecks. Mr. Union Official---if everyone had been doing their job right (from the top down) there wouldn't be the chaos that has been present for years. And, after all, it's supposed to be FOR and ABOUT the VETERANS. How about worrying about them, Mr Union Official? Oh, yes, your job is to worry about the workers, whether they are doing their jobs or not. Let someone else worry about the veterans--obviously not everyone working within the VA has the Veterans at the top of their list.

    I agree with the need to rewrite how to deal with government workers--no matter what agency or department they are in, nor how high or low their position is--it should not take an act of congress (pun intended) to fire someone who is not doing their jobs, or perhaps not even showing up to work regularly. The unions be damned--not every thing they do is in the best interest of even the workers they so much want to protect from being fired.

  • Joe Wilson

    08/20/2018 12:51 PM

    Sandie, Thank you for the short and concise article about the San Diego VA. What I find disappointing is when Congress is appraised of a problem that only they can fix, they go out of their way to ignore or shift the blame elsewhere. Many in the VA are hard working and conscientious about the care all our veterans deserve. The 1% cast doubt on the 99% and it's not fair. My treatment by the VA is 99% favorable, with 1% unfavorable - which I blame on Congress. There are two sister bills HR 4843 and S 2105 which aims to change CRS 38 so that other Thailand Veterans and I are no longer fighting an ongoing battle over herbicide (AO) exposure while serving during the Vietnam War. We write our congressmen and women to no avail. They seem determined to eliminate plastic straws in the cafeteria instead. - US Army Retired in Colorado Springs, Colorado

  • Audrey Skarness

    08/20/2018 12:45 PM

    When President Trump gets VA Healthcare out from under Obamacare, things will run more smoothly.

  • Stephen Russell

    08/20/2018 11:52 AM

    VA: Lets make it 4-8%, no make that 15% of workforce, Gone, Hooray & reduce pensions too.
    From Mgmt to lowest GS3 level type IF warranted.
    Shake up the VA big time.
    Privitize VA Med Centers to Medical chains IE Kaiser, etc.
    More savings.

  • Stephen Russell

    08/20/2018 11:49 AM

    Funding Szork, whose funding him?/ Has to be Leftists right, since NO ProTrumper would, Never Trumpers would.
    & Audit the VA & hold Union accountable,Hold public hearings.
    Or No change.