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Jordan Candler / February 18, 2016

Finally, the VA Shows Leadership

Sloan Gibson says “not so fast” to a perplexing appeals board ruling.

Earlier this month we told you about Kimberly Graves and Diana Rubens, the two Department of Veterans Affairs officials who were demoted for conjuring up a nefarious scheme until the Merit Systems Protection Board stepped in and reinstated them. Now another official, Linda Weiss, an executive who was fired for allegedly ignoring patient abuse, is being let off the hook — well, maybe. We must give credit where credit is due, and in this case agency leadership deserves a pat on the back. VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson is letting MSPB judges know he’s just about had enough of their shenanigans.

Government Executive writes, “The Merit Systems Protection Board … overturned the department’s decision in January to fire Linda Weiss, former director of the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center in upstate New York. VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson, who has defended his recent personnel decisions related to senior executives, said … he would not return Weiss to her job in Albany, or any other position where she would be responsible for patient safety.”

As others have noted, Gibson’s decision probably means that a legal tsunami is forthcoming. But at least somebody is finally standing up to this judicial nonsense. Meanwhile, the Washington Examiner reports that “Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson sent a letter to Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald Tuesday requesting a whistleblower at the Phoenix, Ariz., VA hospital be transferred to another facility given the harsh treatment he has received since exposing misconduct at the facility.” Deputy Secretary Gibson showed leadership in the Weiss case, but he could show it even more by firing a few more people. Exposing negligence isn’t a crime. Covering it up is.

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