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Federal Managers Association

Washington Report

  • This past July, the Washington Post published an article about a report from the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), Local 17, which detailed a list of managers and executives within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recommended for termination. The office of VA Secretary Bob McDonald has not confirmed if he requested this report, nor if he read it. The Federal Managers Association (FMA), along with the Senior Executives Association (SEA), first wrote to congressional leadership requesting an investigation of whether or not the report was conducted on official time. While official time provides for federal labor organizations to conduct representational activities, it does not cover a union investigating agency managers and executives for the purpose of creating a “hit list” of those it seeks to have removed from the agency. Following this letter, several managers and executives within the VA contacted FMA and SEA, expressing that they have been unfairly targeted by union members. In response, FMA and SEA wrote to Secretary McDonald on November 10, urging him to give the report little credence and not to make personnel decisions based off of the report.

    FMA and SEA found instances that while some managers and executives listed on the AFGE, Local 17 hit list had personnel charges against them, complaints were unsubstantiated and dismissed. In the letter, the organizations commented, “We recommend you do not blindly follow the demands of AFGE, Local 17, but instead consider the personnel needs of VA. As the VA continues to recover from the events of 2014, we urge you to make thoughtful, developed plans that meet the needs of not only our nation’s veterans, but also the dedicated men and women who work at VA.” FMA and SEA also called upon Secretary McDonald to comment on whether or not he did in fact request the report from AFGE, Local 17.

    In a press release on the matter, FMA National President Patricia Niehaus stated, “By singling out these managers and executives who have been found of no wrongdoing, AFGE Local 17 is creating a work environment that does nothing to promote the missions and goals of the VA." In the previous letter to Congressional leadership, FMA and SEA commented, “While federal unions, including AFGE, frequently tout positive and collaborative labor-management relations as an important component of fostering an environment that lets all federal employees produce and contribute to their agency missions to the maximum extent possible, a view with which we agree, this unprecedented maneuver suggests AFGE is thinks otherwise.” At this time, Secretary McDonald has not responded to the correspondence. To read the full letters and press release from FMA, please visit the FMA website, www.fedmanagers.org.


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