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.
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?