Watch VA's 'Beat It' video from controversial conferences


The Veterans Affairs Department today delivered to Congress dozens of DVDs documenting its controversial 2011 human resources conferences (now being investigated by the agency’s Office of Inspector General for possible wasteful spending).

The vast majority of them are typical HR conference fare: addresses by Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry and VA Chief Human Capital Officer John Sepulveda, and discussions about recruitment challenges, labor-management relations and disability programs. (Which supports the IG’s conclusion that the conference was held for legitimate reasons, despite its concerns about hundreds of thousands of dollars in alleged wasteful spending on promotional items and scouting trips, and possible illegal or improper gifts to conference organizers.)

But the DVDs also included a video, shown the last day of the July conference, that collected some of its sillier moments. That clip shows VA employees singing Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” at the conference’s karaoke night and dancing, and has a short clip of the in-person appearance of the actor who portrayed Gen. George Patton in the highly-criticized $52,000 video.

What do you think — harmless shenanigans no different from any other conference? Or an example of government waste? Watch the video and sound off below.


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  1. Josh Rhoderick on

    Unquestionably appropriate, nothing can replace a face to face conference for training. And to make fun makes it better and keeps people engaged. NOTHING WRONG with this at all.

  2. Enough with the federal employee bashing. There is not only nothing wrong, BUT EVERYTHING RIGHT about closing a necessary conference on an upbeat, fun, motivational way. Hooray VA!

  3. It is unfortunate that questionable decisions made by some are being used as leverage to question the validity of a much needed, long overdue training opportunity. HR professionals at VA are trained to be highly skilled, specialized individuals who are passionate about keeping the promise to America’s veterans by hiring candidates who will do the same. The training topics offered were essential to daily job functions.

  4. There is nothing wrong with either of these videos. The “upbeat” video is the right way to close a conference on a high note. The video includes references to why people not only liked the conference but the positive learning they received from it. Stop bashing VA. We have a wealth of employees that work hard so serve our Veterans every single day and the only way they can do their job better is to ensure they have the proper training, effective skill and the tools needed to improve job performance. Please stop with the bashing and see this conference for its intent “TRAINING HR PROFESSIONALS SO THAT THEY CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN VETERANS LIVES…PERIOD

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