The ACLJ had this say about the ongoing Veterans Administrations debacle –
The men and women of our armed forces deserve our gratitude. They have fought, sacrificed, and died for the freedoms we hold dear. We owe them an enormous debt. But we owe more than our gratitude. We owe our nation’s veterans the best medical care available. Disturbingly, the VA scandal has exposed a federal bureaucracy that has not only left our veterans behind it is broken a solemn promise to those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. President Obama and his Administration has left our heroes behind. His recent press conference promising an “investigation” is wholly insufficient to correct this horrific dereliction of duty. There are reports that 26 or more VA hospitals could be embroiled in this exploding scandal. They deserve more than this Administration’s empty promises.
One of the biggest problems is that with any federal job it’s next to impossible to get fired, even though someone shows no ability to complete their job satisfactorily.
The USA Today says federal employees’ job security is so great that workers in many agencies are more likely to die of natural causes than get laid off or fired, a USA TODAY analysis finds –
When job security is at a premium, the federal government remains the place to work for those who want to avoid losing a job. The job security rate for all federal workers was 99.43% last year and nearly 100% for those on the job more than a few years. The nearly half-million federal employees earning $100,000 or more enjoyed a 99.82% job security rate in 2010. Only 27 of 35,000 federal attorneys were fired last year. None was laid off. Death claimed 33.
David French had this to say –
I’m sorry, but if the process for termination is complex, expensive, and difficult, then employees can and will game the system with near-impunity. Spend much time talking to conscientious VA employees, and they’ll tell you stories of the colleague caught snorting cocaine in the parking lot who’s allowed to work the next day, other colleagues who do nothing but surf the web and run eBay businesses from their office, or others who milk complaint processes to make life miserable for supervisors who try to impose order and efficiency. The system is so dysfunctional that top-down demands for improvement and efficiency are simply laughed off. The military is plagued with similar deficiencies. While the deployed military is hardly perfect, the immediacy of danger and the horrific real-world consequences of failure do create a mindset that can cut through red tape to properly sustain and support our forces at the tip of the spear, but when you arrive back home, the world changes. I was astonished and remain astonished at the amount of paperwork (often 100-plus pages that must be perfectly completed) required to toss out of the Army Reserve a soldier who not only fails to show up for work for months, but also refuses to answer any inquiries from his command. And don’t get me started on the bureaucratic minefield that is the medical separation process. Talk to any soldier about military bureaucracy and prepare to hear stories that will shock anyone but an employee of another federal agency.
It is an immutable law of human nature that extremes of job security will quite often result in extremes in incompetence and corruption. You can clean house at the top of the VA, but until the VA can clean house at all ranks — or, better yet, until the VA can clean house at all ranks and faces an existential threat to its very existence (in the same way that incompetent private-sector businesses do) — we’ll continue to stain our national honor by mistreating our nation’s heroes.
Bureaucracies fail. It’s the thing they do best.