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  1. #1

    Default In this administration, incompetence is rewarded

    I supposed it's not much different than private-sector executives getting huge bonuses and compensation even when their companies are under-performing, but there should be a higher degree of disdain reserved for those who are rewarded for incompetence in the handling of veterans' affairs...
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Months after a politically embarrassing $1 billion shortfall that put veterans' health care in peril, Veterans Affairs officials involved in the foul-up got hefty bonuses ranging up to $33,000.

    Congressional leaders on Thursday demanded that the Veterans Affairs secretary explain the hefty bonuses for senior department officials.

    Rep. Harry Mitchell, chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs subcommittee on oversight, said he would hold hearings to investigate.

    Sen. Daniel Akaka, who heads the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, said the payments pointed to an improper "entitlement for the most centrally placed or well-connected staff." He has sent a letter to VA chief Jim Nicholson asking what the department plans to do to eliminate any bonuses based on favoritism.

    "These reports point to an apparent gross injustice at the VA that we have a responsibility to investigate," said Mitchell, D-Arizona. "No government official should ever be rewarded for misleading taxpayers, and the VA should not be handing out the most lucrative bonuses in government as veterans are waiting months and months to see a doctor."

    One member of the House committee, Rep. Phil Hare, D-Illinois, called for Nicholson to resign.

    A list obtained by the AP of bonuses to senior career officials in 2006 documents a generous package of more than $3.8 million in payments by a financially strapped agency straining to help care for thousands of injured veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Among those receiving payments were a deputy assistant secretary and several regional directors who crafted the VA's flawed budget for 2005 based on misleading accounting. They received performance payments up to $33,000 each, a figure equal to about 20 percent of their annual salaries.

    Also receiving a top bonus was the deputy undersecretary for benefits, who helps manage a disability claims system that has a backlog of cases and delays averaging 177 days in getting benefits to injured veterans.
    The treatment of our veterans is outrageous. Giving large bonuses to administrators who are responsible for such mismanagement spits in the face of the veterans who are suffering through our current VA system — it's absolutely disgusting and intolerable.

    Mr. President: Supporting the troops absolutely includes making sure that they are well taken care of when they come home with battlefield injuries (whatever they may be). They deserve the highest standard of care — the same standard of care that you, your staff and members of Congress receive. Yet, on your watch, veteran are receiving substandard care. And your administration is rewarding this mismanagement and incompetence. Does "support the troops" only extend to achieving your political goals or do you really mean it? If you really mean it, then hold those in your administration charged with their care responsible for their poor treatment.

  2. Default Re: In this administration, incompetence is rewarded

    As a "disabled" veteran, I can personally vouch for having to wait months to see a doc concerning something that should have been taken care of within a week of diagnosis.

    From the sounds of it...I'm thinking I should just go to work for the VA.

  3. #3
    MadMonk Guest

    Default Re: In this administration, incompetence is rewarded

    I agree, that's disgusting and infuriating.

  4. #4

    Default Re: In this administration, incompetence is rewarded

    I bet their annual reviews are oh so tough....Probably have them grade themselves and jot down how much of a raise they think they deserve

  5. Default Re: In this administration, incompetence is rewarded

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy180 View Post
    I bet their annual reviews are oh so tough....Probably have them grade themselves and jot down how much of a raise they think they deserve
    In fairness...My company has me do exactly that every year.

    I never fail to give myself perfect 10's on a 1-5 scale as well as put $500,000 as an "acceptable" salary on it. And while they don't quite give me that each year...The CEO never fails to call me (my company is based out of Alabama) and let me know they appreciate my humor. I told her that I was really only a 9 and only expected $350,000 a year, but figured I'd aim high.

  6. #6

    Default Re: In this administration, incompetence is rewarded

    Quote Originally Posted by Oh GAWD the Smell! View Post
    In fairness...My company has me do exactly that every year.

    I never fail to give myself perfect 10's on a 1-5 scale as well as put $500,000 as an "acceptable" salary on it. And while they don't quite give me that each year...The CEO never fails to call me (my company is based out of Alabama) and let me know they appreciate my humor. I told her that I was really only a 9 and only expected $350,000 a year, but figured I'd aim high.
    Like how your company operates Oh Gawd...Think mine would lop off those last 4 zeroes in your figure there and maybe throw in a coupon for a turkey or ham

  7. Default Re: In this administration, incompetence is rewarded

    Heh...In 2005, my Christmas "bonus" was a $50 gas card...To a chain of gas stations that doesn't have a single pump in this state.

    I mailed it back to them and they sent me a hat. Weirdos.

  8. #8

    Default Re: In this administration, incompetence is rewarded

    I think there are substantial problems within this agency, but come on, bonuses for top officials of only $33k?

    Come on people. Let's talk about the recent article in the NY Times, Make Less Than $240 Million? You're Off Top Hedge Fund List - Free Preview - The New York Times.

    $33k bonuses are quite insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I would much rather debate the merits of whether any individual is actually "worthy" of making more than $200 million or up to $1 billion in a single year.

    These people deal with slow and frustrating bureaucracy--regardless of their problems let them have their meager bonuses.

  9. Default Re: In this administration, incompetence is rewarded

    Quote Originally Posted by oumoodman85 View Post
    I think there are substantial problems within this agency, but come on, bonuses for top officials of only $33k?

    Come on people. Let's talk about the recent article in the NY Times, Make Less Than $240 Million? You're Off Top Hedge Fund List - Free Preview - The New York Times.

    $33k bonuses are quite insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I would much rather debate the merits of whether any individual is actually "worthy" of making more than $200 million or up to $1 billion in a single year.

    These people deal with slow and frustrating bureaucracy--regardless of their problems let them have their meager bonuses.
    I would agree with you if they worked for some private organization...But they don't. They're federal employees. Do you know how many new nurses and physical therapists you can hire with 3.8 million a year?

    This isn't a profit driven, publicly traded company that hires rockstar CEO's. It's the Veterans Administration, and it should be run with at least a modicum of efficiency because it's 100% taxpayer funded. These people need a high-velocity pineapple enema.

    Perhaps being a high-speed-low-drag organization is a bit much to ask of any government department or agency. But c'mon...3.8 million in bonuses? That's a bit excessive for an already overworked and underfunded department don't you think? Give them an extra fruitcake at Christmas and hire an extra neurologist or 3.

  10. #10

    Default Re: In this administration, incompetence is rewarded

    I would hope the majority of those bonuses were paid out because some benchmarks or goals were met or exceeded

    Oh crap...Who am I kidding?...This sums it up pretty well


    A list obtained by the AP of bonuses to senior career officials in 2006 documents a generous package of more than $3.8 million in payments by a financially strapped agency straining to help care for thousands of injured veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Wife works in retail and would get squatzo for a bonus if she mismanaged her branch...Should apply in this case as well

    Please try and refresh my memory but aren't bonuses supposed to be both incentive and reward for a job well done?

  11. #11

    Default Re: In this administration, incompetence is rewarded

    Quote Originally Posted by Easy180 View Post
    Please try and refresh my memory but aren't bonuses supposed to be both incentive and reward for a job well done?
    Well, that's the way it's supposed to be, but that principle doesn't even apply in the private sector as much, let alone federal agencies.

    Maybe we could dub these the "heckuva job" bonus program.

  12. #12

    Default Re: In this administration, incompetence is rewarded

    CEOs compensation packages are usually pegged to performance issues like raising sales by x percent. You can often read exactly how these packages are structured in the company's SEC 10-K filing if its a publicly-traded company.

    I'd LOVE to know what the benchmarks for bonuses are at the VA.

    Perhaps the saddest part of all of this is that the VA system has been broken since at least Vietnam as best as I can tell, and basically nothing has ever changed.

  13. #13

    Default Re: In this administration, incompetence is rewarded

    Quote Originally Posted by PUGalicious View Post
    I supposed it's not much different than private-sector executives getting huge bonuses and compensation even when their companies are under-performing, but there should be a higher degree of disdain reserved for those who are rewarded for incompetence in the handling of veterans' affairs...
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Months after a politically embarrassing $1 billion shortfall that put veterans' health care in peril, Veterans Affairs officials involved in the foul-up got hefty bonuses ranging up to $33,000.

    Congressional leaders on Thursday demanded that the Veterans Affairs secretary explain the hefty bonuses for senior department officials.

    Rep. Harry Mitchell, chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs subcommittee on oversight, said he would hold hearings to investigate.

    Sen. Daniel Akaka, who heads the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, said the payments pointed to an improper "entitlement for the most centrally placed or well-connected staff." He has sent a letter to VA chief Jim Nicholson asking what the department plans to do to eliminate any bonuses based on favoritism.

    "These reports point to an apparent gross injustice at the VA that we have a responsibility to investigate," said Mitchell, D-Arizona. "No government official should ever be rewarded for misleading taxpayers, and the VA should not be handing out the most lucrative bonuses in government as veterans are waiting months and months to see a doctor."

    One member of the House committee, Rep. Phil Hare, D-Illinois, called for Nicholson to resign.

    A list obtained by the AP of bonuses to senior career officials in 2006 documents a generous package of more than $3.8 million in payments by a financially strapped agency straining to help care for thousands of injured veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Among those receiving payments were a deputy assistant secretary and several regional directors who crafted the VA's flawed budget for 2005 based on misleading accounting. They received performance payments up to $33,000 each, a figure equal to about 20 percent of their annual salaries.

    Also receiving a top bonus was the deputy undersecretary for benefits, who helps manage a disability claims system that has a backlog of cases and delays averaging 177 days in getting benefits to injured veterans.
    The treatment of our veterans is outrageous. Giving large bonuses to administrators who are responsible for such mismanagement spits in the face of the veterans who are suffering through our current VA system it's absolutely disgusting and intolerable.

    Mr. President: Supporting the troops absolutely includes making sure that they are well taken care of when they come home with battlefield injuries (whatever they may be). They deserve the highest standard of care the same standard of care that you, your staff and members of Congress receive. Yet, on your watch, veteran are receiving substandard care. And your administration is rewarding this mismanagement and incompetence. Does "support the troops" only extend to achieving your political goals or do you really mean it? If you really mean it, then hold those in your administration charged with their care responsible for their poor treatment.
    Pug, what do you think the chances are, that somehow, someway, Clinton is to blame for this?

  14. #14

    Default Re: In this administration, incompetence is rewarded

    Quote Originally Posted by dismayed View Post
    Perhaps the saddest part of all of this is that the VA system has been broken since at least Vietnam as best as I can tell, and basically nothing has ever changed.
    I agree 100%. There's plenty of blame to go around.

    What I find most offensive is the "support the troops" fervor that seems to ignore the area that the troops need the most support proper care for the soldiers (and their families) who have courageously served and sacrificed for our country. The American public seems all too eager to pony up whatever it costs to engage in the war; we should certainly be willing to pony up whatever it costs to provide quality care for the remainder of their lives to those who serve in our armed forces especially those who paid a dear price with life-altering wounds.

  15. #15

    Default Re: In this administration, incompetence is rewarded

    Quote Originally Posted by andy157 View Post
    Pug, what do you think the chances are, that somehow, someway, Clinton is to blame for this?
    Methinks the chances are 98%. Even though he's not be president for six years, all of this administration's failings are his fault.

  16. Default Re: In this administration, incompetence is rewarded

    Quote Originally Posted by PUGalicious View Post
    Methinks the chances are 98%. Even though he's not be president for six years, all of this administration's failings are his fault.
    Clinton caused my limp, was on the grassy knoll, and was predicted to cause the fall of mankind by Nostradamus. He's also the one that keeps that damn Sasquatch hidden for those communist Canucks.

  17. #17

    Default Re: In this administration, incompetence is rewarded

    A follow-up to this story, from the Denver Post:
    Conflict of interest raised in VA bonuses
    Denver Post Wire Report
    Article Last Updated: 05/16/2007 01:35:50 AM MDT

    Washington - Nearly two dozen officials who received hefty performance bonuses last year at the Veterans Affairs Department sat on the boards charged with recommending the payments.

    Documents obtained by The Associated Press raise questions of conflict of interest in connection with the bonuses, some of which went to officials involved in crafting a budget that came up $1.3 billion short and jeopardized veterans' health care.

    The documents show that 21 of 32 officials who were members of VA performance review boards received more than half a million dollars in payments.

    Among them: nearly a dozen senior officials who devised the flawed 2005 budget. Also rewarded was the deputy undersecretary for benefits, who manages a system with backlogs of vets waiting for disability benefits.

  18. Default Re: In this administration, incompetence is rewarded

    Quote Originally Posted by PUGalicious View Post
    A follow-up to this story, from the Denver Post:
    Conflict of interest raised in VA bonuses
    Denver Post Wire Report
    Article Last Updated: 05/16/2007 01:35:50 AM MDT

    Washington - Nearly two dozen officials who received hefty performance bonuses last year at the Veterans Affairs Department sat on the boards charged with recommending the payments.

    Documents obtained by The Associated Press raise questions of conflict of interest in connection with the bonuses, some of which went to officials involved in crafting a budget that came up $1.3 billion short and jeopardized veterans' health care.

    The documents show that 21 of 32 officials who were members of VA performance review boards received more than half a million dollars in payments.

    Among them: nearly a dozen senior officials who devised the flawed 2005 budget. Also rewarded was the deputy undersecretary for benefits, who manages a system with backlogs of vets waiting for disability benefits.

    Oh piffle...Who cares about all that? They got their bonuses for streamlining coffee acquisition procedures in support of mandatory unpaid overtime in the nurses ranks.

    'Cause that's what's really important.

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