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Daily Caller: Few Vets Working in VA's Upper Levels

Daily Caller: Few Vets Working in VA's Upper Levels
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By    |   Wednesday, 06 January 2016 01:22 PM

The Obama administration's push to hire veterans in federal jobs reportedly isn't working at some top levels of the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs.

According to the Daily Caller, only 13 percent of the top officials managing VA healthcare system medical facilities are veterans — and only two of those facilities are run by doctors who served in the military.

Citing its examination of 300 top employees who run the VA's 75 medical centers and regional offices, the Daily Caller writes "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."

The original Veterans Preference Act in federal employment became law in 1944, the Daily Caller notes. In 2009, President Barack Obama signed an executive order aiming to improve opportunities for vets. 

Retired Navy SEAL officer, Gilberto Serrano, who holds two master's degrees, has a financial background and volunteered financial analyses for the Puerto Rico VA, tells the Daily Caller he applied for "at least 20" jobs at the VA.

"When I would apply for something as simple as clerk, they would say I didn't qualify, without saying why," he tells the Daily Caller.

"You have so many talented veterans working these low positions, people who have leadership skills in the military and they're not given a chance," he adds.

According to the Daily Caller, "constant turmoil and elevated turnover rates" have opened "numerous high-profile jobs in which qualified veterans could confront VA's many problems."

Yet a steady 16 percent of the 300 positions are held by "acting" individuals.

In response to a Freedom of Information Act request last July, VA said its own data showed 15.5 percent of the top three administrators at its hospitals were veterans.

That figure includes Chicago's Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, which is jointly run with the Department of Defense, and where top positions are mostly held by doctors who served in the military, the Daily Caller notes.

The department couldn't provide how many vets it presently employs in high, mid and low-level jobs, the Daily Caller reports.

VA spokesman Walinda West tells the Daily Caller "not all veterans would qualify for every position," but the news outlet reports its analysis showed "few of VA's current bosses are irreplaceable."

According to the Daily Caller, only six directors and three associate directors are medical doctors. Associate and assistant directors commonly have master's degrees in public health, public administration or business, but their degrees were often obtained after the employee had been with VA.

The idea that veterans are less qualified than current career bureaucrats is "a slap in the face to the millions of dollars the U.S. spends on training" its military, Serrano tells the Daily Caller.

The VA "could really benefit from the knowledge and understanding of veterans," he adds.

"When you're trying to help fellow vets and what they're going through, no one's going to understand that more than them," Serrano tells the Daily Caller.

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The Obama administration's push to hire veterans in federal jobs reportedly isn't working at some top levels of the troubled Department of Veterans Affairs.
veterans, department of veterans affairs, va, employment
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2016-22-06
Wednesday, 06 January 2016 01:22 PM
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