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11.4.2014

WSB-TV Speaks with Attorney Debra D'Agostino on VA Secretary Criticism, Firing of Problematic VA Employees

Written by: Federal Practice Group
Written by: Federal Practice Group

News & Media

At the end of July, Bob McDonald was confirmed and sworn in as the new Secretary of Veterans Affairs, replacing Eric Shinseki. After the U.S. Senate voted 97-0 to confirm President Obama's choice, McDonald made vows to work on fixing many of the ailments plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs, including promises to "aggressively" fire problematic employees within the VA. According to many congressional members and veterans groups, however, dismissals aren't moving fast enough.

In a recent piece aired on WSB-TV, the news source reported on the increasing criticism aimed at McDonald and questions as to why he's taking so long to handle important issues and fire problem executives. In particular, McDonald has faced a great deal of backlash for delays in the firing of Phoenix VA official Sharon Helman, who was found to have pressured employees into manipulating wait times for veterans. Helman is currently on paid administrative leave and has been so for almost six months.

During an interview, Founding Partner Debra D'Agostino told WSB-TV that the issue largely rests with federal employment law. According to D'Agostino, federal employees can't be as easily fired as employees in the private sector because "they do have due process rights with regards to their jobs. They have the right to have a proposal, to be told what it is they are being charged with; they have the right to see the evidence against them, and they have the right to reply to that."

You can see Attorney D'Agostino's interview on the video below.

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