VA reverses demotion of second disgraced official

posted at 4:01 pm on February 2, 2016 by Jazz Shaw

On Friday we received the news that disgraced VA official Kimberly Graves had her demotion reversed and her former position restored after having been found to have misused her authority and soaked the taxpayers for tens of thousands of dollars in fraudulently obtained relocation expenses. At the time we noted that a decision was still pending on her colleague, Diana Rubens, similarly demoted over the same scheme. Well, in what I’m sure is just an incredible coincidence, the board responsible for conducting the reviews has found that poor Diana was unjustly punished as well. (Government Executive)

An administrative judge on Monday reversed the Veterans Affairs Department’s decision to demote Diana Rubens from her position in the Senior Executive Service to a lower-paying and less high-profile job.

The decision in the case involving the former director of the Veterans Benefits Administration’s Philadelphia office, comes just days after another Merit Systems Protection Board judge, in a separate case, overturned the agency’s decision to demote Kimberly Graves, former director of VBA’s St. Paul, Minn., regional office. The two have been at the center of a controversy over the department’s use of relocation incentives and reassignments of career senior executives, sparked by an inspector general report released in September.

VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson demoted Graves and Rubens formally on Jan. 6 from the SES to General Schedule jobs, and reassigned them to assistant director positions at the VBA’s Houston and Phoenix regional offices, respectively.

On Friday, aside from hearing that there was a “reversal” of the demotion, other details were scarce. Now that the deed is done they’ve come clean with a lot more of the procedural specifics. The obvious point is that both of the women will go back to the full (and very lucrative) pay scales they enjoyed before, but it gets even better than that. First of all, they will be entitled to demand back back starting on January 6 just to make sure that they don’t miss out on a single penny of their taxpayer funded income. But wait… there’s more! All of their legal fees incurred while fighting the case will now be paid for by the VA. (Which means that it’s being paid for by you if you happen to be a US taxpayer.) Oh, and they won’t have to give back the relocation money, obviously. Why would they?

The judge in this case went further than the one on Friday, explaining why the punishment was “unjust.” First of all, the Principal Deputy Secretary for Benefits and the Undersecretary, along with several other supervisors, signed off on the transfers and they weren’t punished, so it would be “unfair” to punish the ones who actually pulled off the scheme. Really? How often do people at the very top of the department dig into the fine details of every personnel action which is sent up the chain? If they had to do all that, why have any managers under you taking care of these things?

Also, the judge didn’t seem to like the look of the entire case.

“I find that there is a significant problem created by the inconsistent treatment of a comparable employee, and that this makes the penalty unreasonable under the circumstances,” said the decision issued by Chief Administrative Judge William Boulden in the Rubens case.

Again… really? If there’s “inconsistent treatment” going on as compared to other employees, does that mean you have more people who are pulling scams like this? And just because they weren’t punished, why start punishing people now that you’ve caught them, right? That would just be terribly unfair.

Is there any way to simply privatize the entire VA? Because at this point we need to just board the place up and shut it down.

DianaRubens


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Comments

The GOP controlled Congress will get on this faster than flies on a cowpat.

Let’s all get together and make sure that “fukcing stupid” chimp known as Donald Trump doesn’t get in there and make a mess of the GOP effort which will produce results in about 30 years or so.

Bishop on February 2, 2016 at 4:06 PM

Don’t join the military. God forbid if something happens to you, the government won’t care.

Oil Can on February 2, 2016 at 4:06 PM

And the GOP will do nothing.

idesign on February 2, 2016 at 4:11 PM

Don’t join the military. God forbid if something happens to you, the government won’t care.

Oil Can on February 2, 2016 at 4:06 PM

It won’t be long before we’re all “in the military” in a metaphorical sense once single payer is instituted.

I might volunteer in People’s Hospital Number 10 just for the chance to stand over suffering liberals who have waited 7 hours for an ill-trained Bangladeshi doctor to deal with their traumatic amputation.

I’ll smile, gently fluff their pillow, whisper “there there”, and then whap a Hope and Change bumper sticker to their forehead before guffawing and walking away.

Bishop on February 2, 2016 at 4:11 PM

We’re all Hillary now.

– Kimberly Graves, Diana Rubens, Lois Lerner.

antipc on February 2, 2016 at 4:11 PM

Ahh, the joys of single-payer healthcare….

Hank_Scorpio on February 2, 2016 at 4:16 PM

Welcome to the reality of socialism, everybody!!

lineholder on February 2, 2016 at 4:18 PM

We’re now to that point where protecting and preserving the system matters more than the people served by the system.

The system is what puts money in the hands of all our elected officials.

We’ll be having systems galore, for everything you can think of.

*Sigh*

Such a good thing squandered.

lineholder on February 2, 2016 at 4:23 PM

Bishop on February 2, 2016 at 4:11 PM

wifarmboy on February 2, 2016 at 4:23 PM

I might volunteer in People’s Hospital Number 10 just for the chance to stand over suffering liberals who have waited 7 hours for an ill-trained Bangladeshi doctor to deal with their traumatic amputation.

Bishop on February 2, 2016 at 4:11 PM

Being a godless prick, I will volunteer to inflict said traumatic amputations.

Rix on February 2, 2016 at 4:24 PM

Coates, only 46 when he died on Jan. 23, became the face of the Veterans Affairs Department wait-time scandal.

The dead don’t complain.

LoganSix on February 2, 2016 at 4:24 PM

The dead don’t complain.

LoganSix on February 2, 2016 at 4:24 PM

They damn sure do when it’s a GM ignition switch.

antipc on February 2, 2016 at 4:26 PM

Why does every woman affiliated with this regime look like a middle aged lesbian?

And no-I am not criticizing traits these women can’t help. Even the plainest of women can be a little attractive with decent clothes, a bit of makeup and a feminine haircut.

This bunch–for whatever reason-just doesn’t try.

Edith Stifle on February 2, 2016 at 4:28 PM

Bishop on February 2, 2016 at 4:11 PM

Your more generous than me. I would be there to point out where the patient is and remind the family to change the bedsheets.

wifarmboy on February 2, 2016 at 4:29 PM

Look at that mug; that grim, pitiless, dour, soulless face.

Ever wonder what the Jews saw when the exited the cattle cars and were confronted by a Nazi apparatchik sitting at a table pointing to the left, then the right, then left, left, right, left, sending people off either to a slow death work camp or straight to the gas chamber without so much as an ounce of pity.

Now you know what they saw.

Bishop on February 2, 2016 at 4:32 PM

Where’s Tlaloc, Lib free, and the rest of them? Oh, I know, they support the crookedness of ALL dhiocrapts, and it is OK that it is lthe veterans that get hurt because those hateful men and women hurt the really good people like the NAZIS, Viet Cong, Communist east Germans, Muslim Ragheads, ISIS, Drug Lords and other bannana republic thugs. Take a look at that split. That can’t be anybodies mother. The VA could be corrected with a stroke of a pen. Merely Shut it down, give each vet a card, and transfer the funds to a Tricare type system.

Old Country Boy on February 2, 2016 at 4:32 PM

I’ve started to write my outrage three times now, and nothing SFW suffices. Make that, “nothing suffices.” Pogo was absolutely right. We have met the enemy and he is US (as in gummint). We need to throw out every elected official and fire every member of the “civil” service (including SES). If we don’t do something drastic pretty damn quick, we are doomed as a nation!

Longhorn Six on February 2, 2016 at 4:33 PM

Troll free thread?

gwelf on February 2, 2016 at 4:35 PM

I would suggest our government officials learn how to police themselves.

It will really s#ck when the electorate does it for them.

Turtle317 on February 2, 2016 at 4:35 PM

Government – the only thing we all do together. Like poison rivers and kill veterans with impunity.
And because we’re all doing it together there’s no need for accountability. It’s only bad when corporations do things.

gwelf on February 2, 2016 at 4:37 PM

I can see these two b!tches along with the pukes that overturned the demotions walking through Arlington Cemetery on Memorial Day spitting on graves.

Makes me sick.

antipc on February 2, 2016 at 4:42 PM

Need some airborne lead poisoning.

Nutstuyu on February 2, 2016 at 4:45 PM

Why does every woman affiliated with this regime look like a middle aged lesbian?

And no-I am not criticizing traits these women can’t help. Even the plainest of women can be a little attractive with decent clothes, a bit of makeup and a feminine haircut.

This bunch–for whatever reason-just doesn’t try.

Edith Stifle on February 2, 2016 at 4:28 PM

As Rush says, DC is “Hollywood” for ugly people.

Nutstuyu on February 2, 2016 at 4:46 PM

You know what’s going to happen to these thieves and those judges?
Nothing.
Absolutely nothing.
And this is all just small potatoes compared to the billions upon billions of dollars that are completely unaccounted for within the government, and which are undoubtedly lining the pockets of even bigger thieves.

And you are paying for all of this with your hard earned money, meaning your labor. How many hours, days, weeks, months do you work for whomever is pocketing huge sums of money?

And you know what we are going to do about it?
Nothing.
We are sheep doing nothing more than bleating a bit as we get sheared.

Due to our passive acquiescence in allowing this to go on (and by dutifully paying our taxes to support the criminal class), we are getting what we deserve.

justltl on February 2, 2016 at 4:48 PM

Need some airborne lead poisoning.

Nutstuyu on February 2, 2016 at 4:45 PM

165 gr sleeping pills.

antipc on February 2, 2016 at 4:49 PM

Rope. Lamppost. Corrupt Bureaucrat.

Some assembly required.

GrumpyOldFart on February 2, 2016 at 4:49 PM

What we need is a strongly worded memo but, please, no profanity! Right, GOP!

Since this string is about veterans look for 40 responses or lees (compared to 400 if Megyn Kelly changes her hair-do.)

MaiDee on February 2, 2016 at 4:50 PM

No wonder government cant get anything done. They reward slackers with bonuses,time off and lavish conventions at tax payers expense. All of this falls on Obama and his most criminal administration in the history of this country. I hope it gets written about for along time so that people realize just how pathetic a President he really was. I am sure between the liberal news and his lying library they will try to spin the story to make it seem something other then what it actually was.

pwb on February 2, 2016 at 4:54 PM

Is there any way to simply privatize the entire VA? Because at this point we need to just board the place up and shut it down.

Vouchers and auctions should do the trick.

Say what you will about Trump, he’d be able to fix this in a blink if he had willing partners in Congress. He’d be able to fix much of it without them.

Does anyone remember the skating rink that no one in NYC could seem to get fixed? The powers-that-be in The City were flummoxed. Trump fixed it with a few calls.

hillbillyjim on February 2, 2016 at 4:55 PM

Does anyone remember the skating rink that no one in NYC could seem to get fixed? The powers-that-be in The City were flummoxed. Trump fixed it with a few calls.

hillbillyjim on February 2, 2016 at 4:55 PM

The rink was closed in 1980 for an announced 2 1/2 years of renovations. When the problem-plagued work was not completed by the city by 1986 after six years and $13 million, Donald Trump persuaded Mayor Ed Koch to let him complete the work in three months in order to have it open by the end of the year. Koch initially objected to Trump’s proposal when Trump offered to pay for the renovations himself with the stipulation that he be allowed to run the venue and an adjacent restaurant and use the profits to recoup his costs. Public pressure prompted Mayor Koch to reverse his position.[3] The rink reopened to the public on November 13, 1986, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and press conference attended by Koch and Trump, covered by national evening broadcast television news.[4][5] Total cost of renovations by Trump was $2.25 million.

hillbillyjim on February 2, 2016 at 5:02 PM

Do the math! 170B budget and 9M ‘served’. Enough for gold plated insurance for every one of them. No VA required. Fire all of ’em.

Quinn B on February 2, 2016 at 5:04 PM

The government for the government, of the government and by the government, shall not perish from the Earth.

Deafdog on February 2, 2016 at 5:05 PM

Any chance the IRS will go after these two thieves for unpaid taxes on ill gotten gains? A lien against their property would be a nice start.

antipc on February 2, 2016 at 5:06 PM

Is there any way to simply privatize the entire VA? Because at this point we need to just board the place up and shut it down.

Exactly right, Jazz.

The VA is a steaming pile of crap. Kimberly Graves and Diana Rubens are perfect examples.

The administrative law judges, William Boulden and Michele Szary Schroeder, are likewise pieces of crap who, as employees of the federal government, think that the government is for the benefit of bureaucrats and not for the benefit of private citizen and veterans.

Graves and Rubens suck. Boulden and Schroeder suck harder.

jaime on February 2, 2016 at 5:08 PM

We need to throw out every elected official and fire every member of the “civil” service (including SES). If we don’t do something drastic pretty damn quick, we are doomed as a nation!

Longhorn Six on February 2, 2016 at 4:33 PM

You can’t fire civil service employees. That’s the problem. You can’t fire them, or even demote them, as these cases show, even when they are proven to be conniving liars and thieves, ripping off taxpayers for hundreds of thousands of dollars, while simultaneously not doing the jobs they are paid (and paid generously) to do.

We have to outlaw public sector unions, and repeal the federal civil service rules, in the entirety. The rules are written by the federal employee unions, and are designed to protect the employees — even the outright criminal and grossly incompetent ones — at the expense of the taxpayers. It is hideously unjust, and cannot be allowed to continue.

AZCoyote on February 2, 2016 at 5:14 PM

Bishop on February 2, 2016 at 4:11 PM

You have really been missed!!!

Barred on February 2, 2016 at 5:18 PM

Why do we get the idiot liberals who hate their country? Russia under Stalin was grossly incompetent and evil, but Stalin was a patriot for Russia, at least.

Our brand of liberals really want us to be destroyed and dead. Castro, Pol Pot, etc: didn’t want that.

Vanceone on February 2, 2016 at 5:18 PM

Why does every woman affiliated with this regime look like a middle aged lesbian?

Edith Stifle on February 2, 2016 at 4:28 PM

To be fair she really belongs in D Block selling cigs on the rec yard.

antipc on February 2, 2016 at 5:35 PM

What we need is a strongly worded memo but, please, no profanity! Right, GOP!

Since this string is about veterans look for 40 responses or lees (compared to 400 if Megyn Kelly changes her hair-do.)

MaiDee on February 2, 2016 at 4:50 PM

I’d bet we could hit 4,000 debating whether the rug matches the curtains.

Nutstuyu on February 2, 2016 at 5:39 PM

And the GOP will do nothing.

idesign on February 2, 2016 at 4:11 PM

You could copy and past this in just about any thread.

We have NO REPRESENTATION.

LilyBart on February 2, 2016 at 5:56 PM

past = paste

LilyBart on February 2, 2016 at 5:57 PM

Holy crap, their “punishment” pay was 120K a year. I’d like to be punished like that.

evergreen on February 2, 2016 at 6:05 PM

And yet, there are still people predicting a Killary indictment. Would you like fries with that.

Kissmygrits on February 2, 2016 at 6:17 PM

Where is “Operation Phoenix” when you need it.
This den of vipers needs to be burned to the ground.

Another Drew on February 2, 2016 at 7:55 PM

Trump fixed it with a few calls.

hillbillyjim on February 2, 2016 at 4:55 PM

Must have lost his mojo, because he couldn’t put together a GOTV in Iowa.

SDN on February 2, 2016 at 8:37 PM

Jazz, the other 900 pound gorilla in the room here is they’re both female.

Project 2 years ago, we had a consultant padding her expense reports by about $500 a week. The project manager started investigating, and the next thing he knows she’s hit him with a “hostile environment” sexual harassment claim with HR.

First thing he was told: drop the expense thing because otherwise she’ll be able to claim retaliation. She’s also pretty much guaranteed promotions and raises and immunity from layoffs for 2-3 years for the same reason.

SDN on February 2, 2016 at 8:41 PM

I practice federal sector labor and employment law for a living.

You can’t blame the VA itself for these reversals. This is the MSPB applying (arguably correctly applying) applicable precedent for Chapter 75 disciplinary actions against federal employees.

You can be upset that such precedents about procedural protections and rules against overly disparate treatment even exist, but this (mostly) isn’t the VA’s fault.

To the extent it might be blamed on the VA would fall on the shoulders of the perhaps incompetent VA attorney who was defending the case at the MSPB.

Muswell Hillbilly on February 2, 2016 at 10:09 PM

Don’t join the military. God forbid if something happens to you, the government won’t care.

Oil Can on February 2, 2016 at 4:06 PM

It won’t be long before we’re all “in the military” in a metaphorical sense once single payer is instituted.

I might volunteer in People’s Hospital Number 10 just for the chance to stand over suffering liberals who have waited 7 hours for an ill-trained Bangladeshi doctor to deal with their traumatic amputation.

I’ll smile, gently fluff their pillow, whisper “there there”, and then whap a Hope and Change bumper sticker to their forehead before guffawing and walking away.

Bishop on February 2, 2016 at 4:11 PM

Haha. I like it.

It won’t be long before we’re all “in the military” in a metaphorical sense…

We could then describe ourselves using the other “M” word; the one in 2A that enrages the lefties. So, two birds with one stone so to speak; Karma (watching them get crappy service due to their own policies) and legal ownership of the contents of your lake, IYKWIMAITYD…

Big John on February 3, 2016 at 1:56 PM

Why does every woman affiliated with this regime look like a middle aged lesbian?

Edith Stifle on February 2, 2016 at 4:28 PM

Haha! Many of the men affiliated w/ this regime, in the bowels of the machine of big gov, look like aging lesbians too. Being a “public servant” ages one prematurely it seems.

Big John on February 3, 2016 at 2:03 PM

Assuming the administrative judge is appointed, he should be impeached. Let the Democrats stand up and claim they agree with his decision. Second, the two should be fired, not demoted. They would certainly be fired if they worked anyplace but the government. Last, Congress should pass legislation forbidding any taxpayer money to be spent paying these two people or their legal fees. They are both parasites, thieves, and thugs and should be treated accordingly. In fact, send a seal team in to remove them.

RickCaird on February 3, 2016 at 4:01 PM

Look at that mug; that grim, pitiless, dour, soulless face.

Ever wonder what the Jews saw when the exited the cattle cars and were confronted by a Nazi apparatchik sitting at a table pointing to the left, then the right, then left, left, right, left, sending people off either to a slow death work camp or straight to the gas chamber without so much as an ounce of pity.

Now you know what they saw.

Bishop on February 2, 2016 at 4:32 PM

A near perfect post. Thank you, Bishop.

(I deduct one point for you failing to utilize the word “parasite.”) ;-)

Dion on February 3, 2016 at 5:36 PM