WASHINGTON DC (KUSI) — President Trump is creating an office at the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve accountability and protect whistle-blowers.
President Trump signed an executive order creating the office during a visit to department headquarters Thursday.
President Trump's creation of this new "Office of Accountability and Whistle-blower Protection" is designed to follow his campaign promise to clean up the embattled Department of Veterans Affairs, which lawmakers have criticized in recent years for being slow to respond to incompetence or criminal behavior.
The new office will help discipline or terminate VA managers or employees who fail to carry out their duties. The head of the new office will report directly to VA Secretary, David Shulkin, who said the office will also help identify barriers that make it difficult to fire or reassign employees who are no longer considered fit to work there.
Before signing the order, President Trump said, "Our veterans have secured our nation with their blood, sweat and tears and now we need to take care of them."
"We're going to help and we're going to make this so good. It's going to be one of our crown jewels. And, it's happening already. As part of that process, Secretary Shulkin has carried out a really thorough review — and he had some very inside understanding of the VA because he's been here — but a thorough review of the VA to uncover all of the problems and challenges that we inherited, of where there were so many. Based on those findings, we're putting plans into place to fix those problems and give our veterans the health care they need and the health care they deserve," President Trump said.
The new order also helps protect the rights of whistle-blowers, like the one who helped uncover the VA scandal in 2014 when as many as 40 veterans died while waiting months for appointments at the VA's medical center in Phoenix.
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