Tallahassee, FL – A new letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) clarifies that five Florida VA facilities have reported drug theft by VA employees. The letter comes on the heels of an AP report from February revealing that drugs were vanishing from VAs around the country. The letter, sent to Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL), points to many incidents of employees being temporarily suspended amidst accusations of drug theft.
Concerned Veterans for America (CVA) supports the VA Accountability First Act of 2017, a bill that passed the House with bipartisan support earlier this year and would make it easier to fire bad VA employees. The bill was introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) but Senator Nelson (D-FL) has yet to support it.
CVA Coalitions Director Diego Echeverri issued the following statement:
“Right here in Florida, VA employees are stealing drugs meant for veterans and facing zero consequences for their actions. It’s not good enough to suspend or shift the roles of employees who put the lives of veterans at risk – we need to be able to terminate these people as soon as possible. Until Congress passes strong accountability legislation like the VA Accountability First Act, it will remain nearly impossible to fire bad VA employees and put an end to scandals like this. Senator Nelson should be out front in support of VA accountability – his veteran constituents are continuing to suffer.”
CVA is running a web ad targeting Senator Nelson. The ad prompts viewers to call his office directly in support of the bill.
If passed, the 2017 VA Accountability First Act would drastically shorten the overall termination and appeals process for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) employees who are found to have engaged in misconduct. Currently, that process can take months or even years. The bill also empowers the VA Secretary to recoup bonuses awarded in error or given to employees who were later found to have engaged in misconduct. Additionally, the bill gives the VA Secretary the ability to reduce the pensions of VA employees who are convicted of felonies that influenced their job performance.