During his Senate confirmation hearing in July 2014 to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, Robert McDonald pledged to “transform” the vast agency. After horrific reports of wait-time manipulation, coverups and even deaths at VA medical facilities across the country, veterans and the American people were calling for honest leadership to restore their trust in the department created to serve them.
Transformation wouldn’t be easy, Mr. McDonald said, but it was “essential.” And “those employees that have violated the trust of the nation and of veterans must be, and will be, held accountable.”
Sixteen months have passed but the VA’s culture of indifference persists, and the climate of accountability Mr. McDonald promised is nowhere in sight.
“Veterans still facing major medical delays at VA hospitals,” read an Oct. 20 CNN article; “VA execs demoted, but get to keep their jobs and fraud money,” reported a Nov. 23 Daily Caller piece. “VA’s own internal probe finds impunity of agency leaders at scandal-ridden hospital,” said a Dec. 16 Washington Post report.
It is now clear that the VA’s most-serious problems are rooted in its leaders’ routine and pervasive refusal to seriously discipline those who have engaged in proven incompetence, corruption and malfeasance. Consider: