Speed Reads


VA chief explains how hard it is to fire people

Speaking with CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday, new Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert McDonald revealed that he has about 1,000 VA employees in his crosshairs in the wake of scandals pertaining to treatment wait time and faulty medical equipment — but actually firing them won't be an easy task. That's because it is far more difficult for federal agencies to get rid of even the most incompetent employees:

CBS' Scott Pelley: Bob McDonald can't punish or fire a thousand people right now. He's discovering how different the Capitol is from capitalism. To fire a government manager he has to put together a case and prove it to an administrative judge.

Secretary McDonald: Scott, the reason this is, the reason this is okay in some respects is that...

Pelley: A lot of people think it's not okay that if people lied and put veterans second and their self first, they should be cleared out.

[crosstalk]McDonald: Absolutely. Absolutely. But we've got to make it stick.

Pelley: How do you mean?

McDonald: So we propose the action, the judge rules and the individual has a time to appeal that's why we have a lot of people on administrative leave. We've moved them out because we don't want any harm to our veterans. [Real Clear Politics]

McDonald is apparently starting small by giving a list of just 35 of the most egregious employees to Congress. Watch the full video at Real Clear Politics.