PVA Points: VA Attitude Shift

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News December 2015

VA is moving away from a circle-the-wagons mentality

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Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Executive Director Homer Townsend says the resignation of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Under Secretary Allison Hickey shows the VA is moving away from a “circle-the-wagons mentality.”

Following a VA Inspector General investigation into allegations of senior employees manipulating the personnel system for financial gain, Hickey resigned Oct. 16. A former Air Force brigadier general, Hickey was in charge of the Veterans Benefits Administration and oversaw 20,000 employees.

Hickey became the focus of a report that alleged she had approved the illegal recoupment of $400,000 in moving compensation for two senior employees.
“The American public demands accountability at all levels of public service. As a leading voice for our country’s most severely disabled veterans, we consider that demand an edict,” says Townsend. “Under Secretary Hickey’s decision to resign signals a shift away from the ‘circle-the-wagons’ mentality in VA culture that once typified the agency’s response to crises.

“Our Congress and VA Secretary Robert McDonald have their work cut out for them in appointing a successor who understands the administration and has the integrity to lead it. Rest assured, Paralyzed Veterans of America will be watching intently,” Townsend says.


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PVA Points: VA Attitude Shift


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