2 VA officials refuse to testify on job-manipulation claims

3 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

2 VA officials refuse to testify on job-manipulation claims.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two high-ranking officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs refused to testify Monday night at a congressional hearing on allegations that they manipulated the agency’s hiring system for their own gain. WASHINGTON — Congressional lawmakers grilled senior VA officials — including the head of the Baltimore office — Monday night over allegations that two of the department’s leaders plotted to open up plum jobs and then take them for themselves. The officials, Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves, told a House committee they were asserting their Fifth Amendment rights under the Constitution to protect themselves against self-incrimination. The VA’s acting inspector general said in a report that Rubens and Graves forced lower-ranking regional managers to accept job transfers against their will.

The two women are among five high-ranking VA officials who received subpoenas to appear at Monday night’s hearing conducted by the House Veterans Affairs Committee. At the hearing, Danny Pummill, a top VA benefits official, said Waller had a good track record in St Paul and has been successful at tackling problems in the troubled Baltimore office, one of the worst performing in the nation, with a long backlog in benefits claims and a high error rate. The process often was handled improperly, the investigators concluded, and was used as a way to financially reward top officials when pay rates were frozen.

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