Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) has introduced legislation this week that would give the Veterans Affairs secretary more authority in disciplining employees at the VA.
Known as the Increasing VA Accountability to Veterans Act (H.R. 473), the bill would give the VA secretary more authority to hold corrupt executives accountable, limit the amount of time VA senior executive service (SES) employees can spend on paid administrative leave and reform certain aspects of the department’s performance appraisal system for its senior executives.
Specific provisions of the legislation include:
- Allows the VA secretary to reduce an SES employee’s retirement pension upon conviction of a crime that influenced his or her work performance by reducing the years of service creditable to the employee’s pension
- Reduce waste by limiting the amount of time VA senior executives could spend on paid administrative leave to 14 days unless the secretary can show good cause for an extension
- Reform VA’s SES performance appraisal system so only 30 percent of senior executives could receive top performance ratings and qualify for bonuses
- Require additional transparency regarding SES performance outcomes and require that all SES employees change jobs within the department at least once every five years
Speaking on the legislation, Congressman Miller, who is also the chair of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs, said in a statement:
“More than nine months after the VA scandal, Americans are asking ‘where is the accountability?’ Unfortunately, VA doesn’t have a good answer to this question. That’s why our focus remains on giving the VA secretary more tools to ensure corrupt and incompetent executives face serious consequences for mismanagement and malfeasance that harms veterans. Right now, the task at hand for VA leaders is replacing the department’s culture of complacency with a climate of accountability, and we are going to give them everything they need to do get the job done.”