By Rich Zeoli
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – In wake of a report from the Inspector General at the Department of Veterans Affairs that detailed corruption and abuse, Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick called for new leadership at the office in Philadelphia.
Fitzpatrick said those who contributed to the problems of long wait times, double payments, and the loss of files need to be replaced immediately.
“There needs to be a cleaning of house at the middle management and senior executive level at the VA in Philadelphia. We owe it to our nations veterans. We owe it to the hard working employees there who are trying to get the job done.”
He pointed out that some managers at the VA actively persecuted whistle blowers who tried to make things better.
“There are a core group of very dedicated employees at the VA…and there’s a group down there that identified waste. They identified abuse. They identified duplicate payments, which only go to hurt other veterans when that happens, they identified that mail was being lost, mismanaged, and in some cases, hidden. They spoke out about that. They brought it to their managers and for that, a group of middle managers and some in the senior executive service ignored them. They tried to stand these employees down, these lion workers at the VA. They isolated them. They ostracized them. They castigated them. They disciplined them and in some cases, threatened them.”
Fitzpatrick believes there could be criminal charges filed against VA officials who denied these allegations in testimony before Congress.
“If in that denial they intentionally misled a Congressional Committee, there may be criminal intent and a criminal infraction that occurred. I would leave that up to the law enforcement agencies in the Federal Government. What I am interested in, I want to see these problems resolved. I want to see our veterans served. I want to see our veterans get the benefits they deserve.”