|Large VA Exec Bonuses Ineffectively Used|
September 23, 2009
Washington, DC – Today, Ranking Member Dr. Phil Roe (TN-1) of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation made the following opening statement at the subcommittee’s oversight hearing on executive bonuses in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:
“This issue is of great concern to me. We must make certain that the criteria and performance metrics VA is uses to determine the amount of a bonus awarded to senior level employees to be a fair and equitable process.
“Those in the Senior Executive Service, commonly referred to as SES, are typically among the cream of the crop in our nation’s federal employees. They are the leaders of today and tomorrow. To be elevated to positions of responsibility they have completed training programs and have dedicated themselves to the service of our country. There is no doubt in my mind that the bonuses many of these individuals received reflect the value of the service they provide.
“However, there are bonuses that appear to be extremely hefty in nature. We are in a time of economic hardship. Many of our citizens, including veterans, are on the unemployment line, struggling to make ends meet. Many folks are tightening their belts to put food on the table and clothes on their children’s backs.
“And yet, several of the bonuses issued by the Department have been in the $30,000 range. This is more money than many in our country see in a single year, and from what I can tell, this amount is the norm for these individuals and considered part of their expected income as opposed to an extra incentive for doing exceptional work.
“We need to ensure that VA is allocating these resources wisely. While many Americans are unemployed or are taking cuts in salary, and cuts in bonuses, we need to ascertain if it is fiscally responsible for the VA to issue such high bonus payments. Are the bonuses that are being issued by the VA truly deserved, or is it just considered a matter of course that these bonuses continue to be awarded? VA must do a better job of examining these bonuses and determine if these individuals are truly worthy of such payments.
“As our country fights a two-front war on terrorism and ever growing deficits, better fiscal responsibility is needed across all government departments and agencies, and VA should and cannot be exempt.”
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