Earlier this month we talked about the story of some VA officials who figured out a creative way to get a leg up in the world. They forced some lower level staffers out of positions in desirable locations, put themselves in those jobs as replacements and still somehow managed to finagle a raise out of the deal even though they had fewer responsibilities. To sweeten the pot further, they wrote up and were reimbursed for more than $400K in “moving expenses” between the two of them. When the scheme was discovered they were invited to testify before Congress about the shocking culture of corruption inside the VA, but they took the 5th.

Well, you’ll be pleased to know that they’ve been terminated from their positions, forced to give all the money back, prosecuted and locked up in the slammer.

Naw… I’m just kidding. What did you expect? They’re government workers. Not only are they still on payroll (albeit with a pay cut because they were demoted) but they qualify for their relocation expense reimbursements after all. (Government Executive Magazine)

The department reassigned Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves to General Schedule assistant director positions within the Veterans Benefits Administration, according to a Nov. 20 statement. The Associated Press reported that the department reassigned Rubens to the Houston facility, and Graves to the Phoenix regional office.

Their new jobs will come with a pay cut since they are being demoted from the Senior Executive Service to the General Schedule pay system. But the two, who originally got into hot water over relocation benefits and improper reassignments, are still entitled to “seek reimbursement for appropriate costs” associated with their latest reassignments “in accordance with governmentwide statutes and regulations that require federal agencies to pay for the geographic relocation of an employee directed to relocate,” said a VA spokesperson.

It’s not the full tour of reimbursement expenses they originally claimed, but they’re getting paid off nonetheless. To quote from a recent Arby’s advertisement, is anybody else freaking out about this? These two women were caught red handed abusing a government retention program to essentially steal nearly a half million dollars from the government. And by that, I mean they were stealing a half million dollars from you. And in punishment for this they got a slight demotion, were moved to a new site anyway and still got paid for the move.

For those of you working in the private sector, allow me to just ask you: if you were caught stealing at work would you get a demotion? I haven’t checked the current employment policies at Salem, but I’m fairly sure that not only would I be unceremoniously fired, but the cops would be brought in and I’d be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This is beyond mind-boggling. It seems to be true – yet again – that it’s essentially impossible to be fired from a government position absent a case of actually murdering your boss and burying their body in a shallow grave behind the office. And even then you’d probably wind up being transferred to a new office with fewer corpses in the yard.

Man, that’s a tough gig. I sure hope they get their extra day off with pay after Thanksgiving.