Editorial – VA Bonuses Unethical

Muskogee Phoenix

As if it wasn’t bad enough that Department of Veterans Affairs senior officials received bonuses while veteran care was underfunded, it turns out many of the officials who received bonuses sat on review boards recommending bonuses.

The Associated Press reported this week that “21 of 32 officials who were members of VA performance review boards received more than half a million dollars in payments themselves.”

These are some of the same officials who put together a budget that came up $1.3 billion short in veteran health care. The AP also reported the benefits deputy undersecretary was rewarded even though the benefits department has severe backlogs of veterans waiting for disability benefits.

That is improper and unethical, despite the VA’s excuse that it must give bonuses to retain hardworking senior officials. The VA also defended itself, saying, officials do not participate in bonus decisions that involve themselves or fellow board members.

However, it does give the appearance that VA officials have a policy of I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine. The agency obviously has some ethical failures to resolve.

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