The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) fired the director of the Washington, DC, VA medical center. Shockingly, this is the second time that Brian Hawkins was fired for incompetence – the first time his job was saved and reinstated by the VA’s “Merit Systems Protection Board.”
In a statement on Wednesday, the VA announced that Hawkins had been terminated. The first time, this past July, was because the medical center he ran was plagued by gross mismanagement; supply chain issues, shortages and radically unsanitary conditions. However, Hawkins was reinstated after his July firing by decree of the corrupt “Merit Systems Protection Board.”
Hawkins was initially spared because he appealed his firing, which is allowed under federal employment rules. Upon appeal, the “Protection Board” ruled that gross mismanagement, and sewer-levels of hygiene were not problems significant enough to have a medical center director fired. This board essentially performs the same function as a labor union – protecting the jobs of the pathologically incapable, the lazy, and the criminal at the expense of everyone else.
Fortunately, despite the setback, VA Secretary David Shulkin moved Hawkins to an administrative position – away from patient care – where his incompetence could no longer directly harm our veterans. Upon making the move, Shulkin defiantly announced, “No judge who has never run a hospital and never cared for our nation’s veterans will force me to put an employee back in a position when he allowed the facility to pose potential safety risks to our Veterans.”
Working in collaboration with Shulkin, Congress passed the “VA Accountability Act” in to law this past June – rewriting the corrupt rules and systems that were used to keep Hawkins – and thousands of other underperforming VA bureaucrats employed. Upon the second termination, on Wednesday, Shulkin announced, “We at VA will use the authorities available to ensure our veterans get the highest quality service and care possible … This is the right decision for veterans in D.C., and employees at the medical center, and underscores our commitment to hold employees accountable if they fail to do their jobs or live up to VA’s values.”
Shulkin has gained a lot of bipartisan praise for his efforts and his aggressive position towards the reform of the VA, which has now the power to reprimand, and fire senior executives through a procedure which takes a period of 21 days, instead of 50 days.
The VA warned Hawkins in late August of its intentions to terminate him, it made its decision firing him after the Inspector General’s new report revealing the Hawkins’s email about the sensitive medical information on the unsecured accounts.
The VA’s new authorities have been used to fire other employees, but no one as high-profile as Hawkins. It’s clear that there is a new sheriff in town, and that the long process has begun to finally ensure that our veterans get the prompt, quality, and respectful medical care that is their right.