Almost 113 days and counting — that’s how long the former head of the Phoenix Veterans Administration has been on paid leave. According to the watchdog group Concerned Veterans for America, Sharon Helman — the “poster girl” for lack of accountability in the VA — continues to collect her federal paycheck, even though she’s doing nothing for the agency. Her annual salary: $170,000.
You may recall that, when the VA scandal broke, Helman came under withering criticism, accused of gross mismanagement that may have resulted in the deaths of as many as 40 veterans. She was removed from her post, but even now continues to collect a paycheck while the VA decides what to do about her situation.
It’s maddening, but true. Despite the fact that an Inspector General report and the VA’s own internal audit demonstrated that she pressured employees to falsify wait time data and punished Phoenix VA whistleblowers on numerous occasions, Sharon Helman is STILL on the VA’s payroll — on PAID “administrative leave.” Even worse, the VA has been less than transparent about when — or even if — she will be disciplined at all. Sadly, the same is true for several other VA administrators that have been found to have engaged in misconduct.
Remember that, a few weeks ago, President Obama signed a $16.3 billion VA bill, vowing new accountability in the scandal-plagued department.
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