You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Acting VA secretary vows protection for whistleblowers

Jun. 13, 2014 - 04:06PM   |  
Sloan Gibson
Acting Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan Gibson speaks to the media during a visit to the Audie L. Murphy VA Medical Center on June 6 in San Antonio. (Eric Gay/The Associated Press)
  • Filed Under

Acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson promised VA employees that whistleblowers will not face harassment or punishment for reporting misbehavior in the department.

But their supervisors might.

“I want to make clear that intimidation or retaliation against whistleblowers — or any employee who raises a hand to identify a legitimate problem, make a suggestion, or report what may be a violation of law, policy, or our core values — is absolutely unacceptable,” he said in a departmental message. “I will not tolerate it.”

Gibson said protecting those employees is “a moral obligation of VA leaders, a statutory obligation, and a priority for this department.”

He promised disciplinary action against any employees seeking to punish whistleblowers, saying those voices are needed to help improve department practices.

The message came two weeks after Gibson took over as head of VA after former Secretary Eric Shinseki resigned amid multiple whistleblower reports nationwide that highlighted serious problems in VA medical appointment wait times.

It also came eight days after the Office of Special Counsel announced it was investigating 37 cases of VA whistleblowers who were punished by supervisors for speaking out, and 49 other cases in which department employees reported unknown problems related to a host of patient safety issues.

This week, several lawmakers charged that local VA supervisors have moved to silence or discourage employees from talking both to the media and Congress about problems at their facilities.

In the message, Gibson said he expects all VA workers to “bring to the attention of their managers and supervisors shortcomings in the delivery of our services to veterans or any perceived violations of law or official wrongdoing, including gross waste, fraud, or abuse of authority.”

Without that information, he said, “problems can lead to and encourage improper and unethical actions.”

Gibson added any employees who believe they have been the target of whistleblower reprisal should contact appropriate authorities, including VA’s Office of Inspector General, Office of Special Counsel, Merit Systems Protection Board or their member of Congress.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In News

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

From Our Blogs


The latest from PT365

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

CrossFit vs. unit PT
Troops will do the training plans in a $2.5 million study

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook