Obama pledges to listen to VA employees


The Veterans Affairs Department will soon start a new program to take advantage of VA employees’ expertise nationwide, President Barack Obama said Monday.

Obama announced the program at the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in Phoenix, Ariz., where he spoke of the agency’s need to better serve veterans. He said asking employees for their ideas can help solve many of the VA’s critical problems, including the backlog of more than half a million veterans’ claims.

Obama said he’d told VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra, Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra and Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients to establish a competition to find the very best ideas employees have to improve the VA.

We’re going to challenge each of our 57 regional VA offices to come up with the best ways of doing business, of harnessing the best information technologies, of cutting red tape and breaking through the bureaucracy. And then we’re going to fund the best ideas and put them into action, all with a simple mission: cut those backlogs, slash those wait times, deliver your benefits sooner. I know you’ve heard this for years, but the leadership and resources we’re providing this time means that we’re going to be able to do it. That is our mission, and we are going to make it happen.”


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  1. Bill E. Trakas on

    The VA medical center has a shortage of highly qualified knowledgeable personnel, recommend hiring former federal government employee without penalizing their retirement. I am one of the most qualified VA employees in my field, however, I make the least amount of money. I bring a 4yr.degree, Level III Contracting Certification and 14 years of federal government contracting experience to the table and only make $20,000 annually because my CSRS retirement is deducted from my pay each pay period.


    Bill Trakas (803)695-6783 (w) Logistics/Purchasing/Dorn Va Medical Ctr., Columbia, SC 29209

  2. Excellent point Bill Trakas. The lack of experienced HR Specialists at the VA is the number one barrier to a much more flexible and responsive personnel program at the VA. There are a number of current options that already exist to remedy your situation with going to the OPM, obtaining an Executive Order or a congressional act. Unfortunately, because your personnel offices are not aware of these options, you and the agency are being held hostage. All the time, your agency HR folks will blame it on the “HR system” and look for ways as with other agencies to change the HR system… Another lack of efficiency and effectiveness involving the VA is why did the VBA reject the use of an online registry for disabled veterans allow ing disabled veterans to register 24/7 within 15 minutes online and be referred for training and employment to all federal agencies. As a public service to disabled veterans this would cut a lot of red tape and provide eligible disabled veterans at each agencie’s fingertips. The registry would place more disabled veterans in federal employment within 90 days than the total of placements VBA has had (according to GAO Reports) over the past 5 years… But then again, why make things easy for our disabled veterans. Raymond Jefferson, can you look in this recent turnabout by the VBA?

  3. Maurice Larner on

    Wouldn’t it be good idea to get the opinions of the Vets who have stay or live at the VA Facilities. It is great to have the VA Employees a chance to figure out how to fixed the mess that they created in the first place. Being just a visitor at VA Hospital here in Atlanta, The Hospital has a lot of new stuff and the hospital is being remodel, but in the process of remodeling the Facility, They had to patients that live in the nursery home to move out. This was unfair to the patients and the employees who to very good care of them. When you are care giver whether you nurse, employee or just a family member, you grow very close to the Vets that you take care of. It didn’t make an sense to move these patients out and have them die within a couple of weeks of leaving the facility. If you going spend the money on remodeling VA Facilities. At least have some common sense and take of VETS that are all ready there.

    The management of the VA Hospital here in Atlanta ought be shame of themseleves let the patients be treat that way.

    I sent a message to VA Headquarters just after the hospital starting forcing the VETS to leave the nursery Home and as usually they didn’t answer my question. Which is normal when you have people who are more interest in how big a bonus they will get instead of doing their JOB, Taking care of Patients. If you got the guts answer my comments.

  4. The VA currently is trying to terminate people with 20+ years in their jobs, using performance issues that do not exist, nor justify the action. They ‘graciously’ offer early retirement but who can afford to lose several hundreds of dollars for the rest of their life for being forced out of their jobs too early? The real cause to these actions is budget problems, not employee performance problems but most are too afraid, or too poor to fight it. So much for job stimulus when the government is pulling this on their long term employees. Administratively they have become a white elephant, President Obama had best start looking at those outdated Organizational Charts to see where to cut ‘mucho bucks!’

  5. Carrie Zmarzly on

    This week, I received a package from the VA for the completion of the VA SDVOSB Verfication. Just allow me to say, that is is the most rediculous set of questions I have ever seen. WHY IS THE VA ASKING FOR 20 CHECKS FROM VETERANS BUSINESS ACCOUNTS… I the list of requirements, there is not one explanation as to why these 20 checks are being requested and or what they will be used for. The checklist is outrageous! Creating SDVOSB verification was supposed to make things earier for the Veteran. This list that was requested by the VA needs to be looked into. SOMEONE PLEASE REVIEW THE REQUIREMENTS. WHY ALL OF THIS? How hard is it for the VA to verify that a veteran is drawing a SD monthly check? Leave it the Gov’t to take something simple and vital and turn it into a circus.

  6. The VA backlog continues to grow Veterans wait 1 to 2 years for the benifits that they are entiltled to, the VA lies about the time it takes to complete claims, the current administration has had 4 years to correct the disaster that is the VA. Vietnam Vets believe that the VA policy towards them is DELAY DENY LET THEM DIE as they wait for the help they deserve but it comes to late if at all. As for Romney his Veteran affiars advisors are the people who ran the Bush admin VA they were a disaster also denying Navy Vets of the VIETNAM WAR agent orange benifits. So here is 1 Veterans take on the election God bless America God damn the U.S. government

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