Tuesday, October 7, 2014

VA Dumps Its Procurement Deputy

The U.S. Department of of Veterans Affairs took the unusual step of issuing a press release announcing the removal of one of its executives. Usually these matters are accomplished with little fanfare and the disgraced individuals slip quietly out of the limelight. Without naming names, the press release stated that allegations of conduct prejudicial to the Government by the Deputy Chief Procurement Officer (DCPO), Veterans Health Administration Procurement & Logistics Office, were substantiated by the VA's Inspector General's Office. You can read the entire press release here.

Susan Taylor, the culprit in this case, was found to have committed several ethics violations. She pressured contracting staff under her authority to give preference to and award a task order for reverse auction services to a particular vendor. She also engaged in a conflict of interest when she improperly acted as an agent of that vendor in matters before the government. She improperly disclosed non-public VA information to unauthorized persons, misused her position and VA resources for private gain, and engaged in a prohibited personnel practice when she recommended that a senior executive service employee be removed from the SES (Senior Executive Service) during her probation period. You can read all the sordid details in the IG report if you care to wade through the 82 page report. This lady would be one hard boss to work for, that's for sure.

Rep Jeff Miller, R-Fla, Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee was reported as saying "What I don't want to see happen is for Taylor to retire, resign or find another government job outside of VA without consequence - a pattern that has been emerging in recent weeks. The only way the department can regain the trust of veterans and taxpayers is if VA employees who preside over malfeasance and mismanagement are held accountable, and its up to the department leaders to make sure that happens." After a statement like that, it seems unlikely that she will reappear in any capacity as a Government employee.

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