There are not abounding things that Americans absolutely accede on these days, but one affair anybody does assume to accede on is the honesty, candor and advantage of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. President Lincoln’s angel is generally invoked in both scholarship and pop ability as a attribute for able leadership, equality, and the allegation to assignment collaboratively to accomplish our country better. Accustomed Lincoln’s acceptability as a allegiant apostle for about cocked ideas, and as one of the best admired heroes of our history, it’s infuriating that the accustomed administration at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs administration is authoritative a apology of President Lincoln’s image.
The VA’s mission account is “to accomplish President Lincoln’s affiance ‘To affliction for him who shall accept borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan’ by confined and anniversary the men and women who are America’s Veterans.” This citation is from Lincoln’s added countdown address, accustomed on March 4, 1865. VA adopted this allocation of the abode as its mission account in 1959. A applique with the citation engraved on it appears alfresco VA’s Central Office in Washington, DC.
Despite the citation on the alfresco of the building, what happens central VA Central Office is accession story. To this end, accustomed VA administration seems far added absorbed in adorning themselves rather than caring for veterans. For example, the VA Office of the Inspector General afresh accustomed that Kim Graves and Diana Rubens, two chief controlling account employees, manipulated their positions of ascendancy to actualize job opportunities for themselves in Minneapolis and Philadelphia, respectively, which complex beneath albatross but the aforementioned aerial akin of pay. And, if that wasn’t enough, they additionally break accustomed a absolute of about $400,000 in alteration costs from the government, at a time back the VA has lobbied Congress for added allotment to accumulate its medical accessories up and running.
Further demonstrating their alternative for arrogance over the best-interest of veterans, both Rubens and Graves autonomous not to appearance up to a Congressional blank hearing, bidding the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs to affair subpoenas for alone the third time in its history. Both women accept been referred to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for accessible bent case and Allison Hickey, the beneath secretary for Benefits, accommodated amidst the scandal. Congress will authority a chase up audition on November 2nd. Should they accept to accede with the subpoena, both Rubens and Graves would abundantly account from behaving added like “honest Abe” than the egoistic bureaucrats they accept apparent themselves to be appropriately far in the investigation.
Administrative agencies like the VA generally activate with a policy-oriented mission, such as, to digest Lincoln, caring for veterans and their dependents. However, due to the attributes of beginning bureaucracies, missions generally achromatize over time or abandon altogether. This is acutely accurate of the accustomed VA, and the ability of the alignment badly needs to change to brace the Department’s account to this mission. Because bourgeois measures such as added staffing, added funding, and incremental fixes to anachronistic systems have, to date, alone circuitous the VA’s problems rather than fix them, the alone acknowledgment is added absolute reform. Action on aldermanic proposals such as the VA Accountability Act, which would acquiesce VA to aish or bench advisers based on achievement or delinquency is a footfall in the appropriate direction. Similarly, added absolute transformations to VA processes and procedures that accent public-private partnerships, rather than complete assurance on centralized VA systems, would additionally go a continued way against much-needed cultural change at the agency.
In accession to reminding our nation of the accent of caring for “those who accept borne the battle,” Lincoln additionally already said “if you appetite to analysis a man’s character, accord him power.” The situations of Rubens and Graves appearance us that the appearance of those in allegation of the VA has been tested, and they accept failed. Our nation’s veterans deserve better.
Riley is the assumption of Riley-Topping consulting, a consultancy that specializes in issues pertaining to veterans law and policy.
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