Also under the bill: management officials who retaliate against whistleblowers would be subject to mandatory discipline of at least a 12-day suspension for a first offense and required firing for a second; treatment of whistleblowers would have to be considered in a supervisors’ performance evaluation and in their performance awards; and awards already paid would have to be paid back if the supervisor is later found to have committed a prohibited practice including retaliation. Additional training and reporting to Congress also would be required, and VA employees who testify before Congress would be treated as being on official duty and eligible for travel-related expenses. A broader VA reform effort pending in the Senate contains similar provisions plus others aimed at shortening the disciplinary process. Efforts to advance that bill continue, boosted by the VA’s decision to no longer use its existing authority short-cutting the appeals rights of senior executives there. However, chances also are dimming for that bill being brought to a vote before the recess.
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