Monday, May 19, 2014

The VA in a Nutshell

Over at HotAir, Jazz Shaw interviews Congressman Mike Coffman (R-CO). In it, the Congressman gets very close.
H.A.: What specific steps could VA Secretary Eric Shinseki (or his replacement, should he resign) take to begin cleaning this mess up?

M.C.: The first thing that Shinseki’s replacement needs to do is to get rid of the bureaucrats who have surrounded Shinseki and have created the unacceptable culture that exists within the Department. Shinseki’s replacement should first fire all of those senior bureaucrats around him that have helped create a culture where the mission of VA leadership has been to serve themselves and not to serve those who have sacrificed so much in defense of our nation. That would send a clear message to the rank and file, most of whom want to be there to help our nation’s veterans, that what the VA has done in inexcusable.

H.A.: We’ve seen this problem at as many seven or more VA hospitals. If the problem were just at one location, you might have a rogue administrator, but at what point do we conclude this was national policy?

M.C.: It may very well have been. The problem is that we are staffing these agencies with people who are not very good at serving our veterans, but are very good at giving bonuses to each other. If they do well on paper they get a bonus. And this leads to a culture of corruption.

H.A.: We provide great service to veterans while they are in service, but it seems to fall apart in the civilian world. Should the VA be run directly by military personnel?

M.C.: Going back to Vietnam we’ve done our best for our soldiers when we keep them in direct military service all the way through the entire rehabilitation process. That’s because the military is a true meritocracy which rewards results. The federal civil service system is not. It tolerates, or possibly rewards, mediocrity if not incompetence and corruption.

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