Given all the “issues” that the VA has run into over the past few years (to put it kindly) you might think that they’d look to some actual veterans to help sort things out. But according to yet another investigative effort by the Daily Caller, we learn that you’d be wrong. People holding the top spots in the agency across the country are, by and large, not veterans themselves despite the impressive supply of returning heroes available and qualified for such positions.
Despite a long-running government-wide push to hire veterans, only 13 percent of the top officials managing Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system medical facilities are veterans and only two of those facilities are run by doctors who served in the military, according to an analysis by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
TheDCNF analysis examined the biographies of the 300 top employees who run VA’s 75 medical centers and regional offices, including directors, chiefs of staff and associate and assistant directors. (See interactive database below and here.) The original Veterans Preference Act in federal employment became law in 1944.
Viewing the 13 percent figure, it’s almost as if the VA wants to ensure that, if veterans do work for the agency, they don’t have the power to make changes.
It’s kind of amazing that federal jobs of any sort don’t have a higher percentage of veterans holding them, say nothing of positions at the VA. One of the few places where there is justification for a small bit of preference in hiring practices is the nation’s willingness to help returning service members more quickly find a productive place in the civilian world. When you go to take a civil service test for government jobs, for example, you’ll get a few extra points on your score for being a vet. This applies to the majority of government jobs at every level. And while unofficial in nature, even civilian companies frequently give a few “bonus points” to people with military service on their resume. When it comes to the VA, you’d almost have to make a concerted effort not to get more than 13% veteran hiring.
But if vets aren’t getting those jobs, then who is? Well, the DC came up with at least one example which should raise a few eyebrows.
A Tomah Department of Veterans Affairs employee responsible for counseling inpatient female veterans in the PTSD and substance abuse units has just been jailed over multiple sexual assault allegations, according to reports received by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
An internal public affairs memo corroborates those reports, though the exact nature of the behavior was not mentioned, nor was an employee named.
However, reports indicate that the employee is likely Charles Davis, a mental health peer support specialist who allegedly forced oral sex on one woman and exposed his penis to two other women. Other women are coming forward now that word has spread around the facility of Davis’ booking in the Monroe County jail. In total, Davis faces seven charges, though exactly what those charges are at this point is unclear.
The alleged sexual predator was immediately placed on Administrative Absence and removed from clinical care duties, which I’m sure will come as a great comfort to the patients. As if the VA didn’t have enough trouble already, female veterans already traumatized from their time in service come home to find out they’ve got an appointment with a sex offender. I wonder if they’ll actually manage to fire this guy, or if removing people like this from their government positions will remain impossible.