Eye Opener: Abuses in VA Office of Technology
Happy Friday! A new inspector general report reveals that thousands of employees in the Department of Veterans Affairs' technology office received a total of $24 million in bonuses over a two-year period, some under questionable circumstances. The "scathing" internal reports also detail abuses including nepotism and an inappropriate relationship.
The AP reports that "The inspector general accused one recently retired VA official of acting "as if she was given a blank checkbook" as awards and bonuses were distributed to employees of the Office of Information and Technology in 2007 and 2008. In some cases the justification for the bonuses was inadequate or questionable."
"The official, Jennifer S. Duncan, also engaged in nepotism and got $60,000 in bonuses herself, the IG said. In addition, managers improperly authorized college tuition payments for VA employees, some of whom were Duncan's family members and friends. That cost taxpayers nearly $140,000.
"Separately, an employee in the office became involved in an "inappropriate personal relationship" with a high-level VA official. The technology office employee flew 22 times from Florida to Washington, where the official lived. That travel cost $37,000.
"The details on the alleged improprieties were in two IG reports issued this week. A VA spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment."
The new internal investigation comes amid rumblings that other top VA officials could be on the outs as VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki continues his reform efforts. Earlier this week during a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention, President Obama said he will ask rank-and-file employees at the Veterans Benefits Administration to submit ideas on how to end that agency's backlog.
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
• Cabinet and Staff News: Former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge says he was pressured to raise the terror alert level in 2004.
In other news...
• U.S. and Cuba Work Together on Storms: There's at least one thing the two countries agree on: Hurricanes are bad.
• Detainees Shown CIA Officers' Photos: The Justice Department recently questioned military defense attorneys at Guantanamo Bay about whether photographs of CIA personnel, including covert officers, were unlawfully provided to detainees charged with organizing the 9/11 attacks.
• Blackwater Disclosure Adds to CIA Worries: Democratic House and Senate lawmakers and staff members have already described as inappropriate the Bush administration's decision to hand management and training responsibility for the CIA's "targeted killing" efforts to Blackwater USA.
• U.S. to Dole Out $1.2 Billion for Health Records Technology: The administration has described such computer systems as a crucial step in overhauling the nation's increasingly expensive health-care system.
• Web Site Collects Data on Stimulus: By mid-October, the government plans to post information from stimulus money recipients online, allowing the public to review the data.
• Bassinet Warnings Renewed After Deaths: Two young children died after getting trapped in previously recalled bassinets from Simplicity, the Consumer Product Safety Commission disclosed.
• HHS Building Evacuated After Minor Explosion: The explosion apparently was felt in some points of the building, on the 200 block of Independence Ave SW.
• Battle Brewing Over Command Authority: A Pentagon proposal to give the federal government greater authority to mobilize and command Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps Reserve units during domestic disasters and emergencies is on a collision course with National Guard boosters on Capitol Hill who favor giving governors tactical control over those federal military forces and Guard troops.
• FCC Plans Broad Review Of Wireless Industry: It's not clear what the agency might do as a result of the inquiries, which are expected to be approved by FCC commissioners next Thursday at a regular monthly meeting.
Posted by: LeeH1 | August 21, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: BMike1 | August 21, 2009 11:46 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: highexpectations | August 21, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: pkbishop | August 22, 2009 11:51 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: jwolfbauer | August 23, 2009 12:59 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: FedUp37 | August 24, 2009 11:43 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.