FMA EXPRESSES CONCERNS ABOUT VA ACCOUNTABILITY ACT July 27, 2015
Alexandria, VA - The Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee approved the VA Accountability Act (S. 1082) yesterday, which would make it easier to terminate VA employees. This act effectively expands legislation Congress passed last summer, which made it easier to fire senior executives. Below is Federal Managers Association (FMA) National President Patricia Niehaus' statement on the committee's action.
"FMA is deeply disappointed that legislation turning all employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs into 'at-will' employees continues to gain traction. I have repeatedly warned against this in recent congressional hearings before both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and I continue to urge restraint as Congress treads the dangerous and slippery slope toward an at-will civil service. Limiting due process for any employee is unacceptable.
"That does not mean that every employee should be retained. As with any population within both the public and private sectors, there may be a few bad apples. However, the current system, as written in statute, is not broken, and already allows for the removal of employees based on unacceptable conduct or performance. And it allows for proper due process protections, with a minimum 30 day notice period from the date the proposal to remove or demote is issued to the employee to the effective date of action. This is not an unreasonable time for an employee to respond to a proposal and for management to decide whether or not to terminate an individual's employment.
"Over the past two hundred years, the United States has purposefully moved to a more responsible and thoughtful approach to how federal employees should be treated. Civil service reforms since the late 1800s were written specifically to preclude elected representatives from using civil servants as political pawns. In America, politics should not have any role in the retention or separation of a civil servant. The arbitrary limitation of due process is not the American way, and FMA urges the full Senate to oppose S. 1082 as currently drafted."