Long Past its Use-By Date

The Department of Veterans Affairs Inspector General Office has found problems in the VA’s process for vetting the contractors it hires. The IG’s audit findings include these (not an exhaustive list by me):

  • 47 of 50 contract files (94 percent) did not include position designation records that established the position investigative requirements for the contract
  • 34 of 50 contracts (68 percent) did not include contract language to communicate contractor vetting requirements to the contractor
  • 215 of the 286 contractor employees reviewed (about 75 percent) did not have evidence of completed fingerprint checks
  • 225 of the 286 contractor employees (about 79 percent) did not have evidence that a background investigation was completed by an investigative service provider

And this kicker [emphasis added]:

[T]he team’s review of a contract for unarmed security guards at the St. Cloud VA Medical Center in Minnesota determined that officials did not vet any of the 73 contractor employees, 38 of whom (about 52 percent) had criminal records. The criminal records included arrests and convictions ranging from petty misdemeanors to felonies such as disorderly conduct, domestic abuse, physical and sexual assault, financial card fraud, and terroristic threats. During the performance of the contract, VA police, St. Cloud officials, and the VA OIG were notified about improper behavior by the unvetted contractor employees, including stalking female VA and contractor employees, sexually harassing and assaulting other employees, getting into altercations at the medical center that required police intervention, and bragging to coworkers about being a gang member.

With that failure rate, does the VA actually have a vetting process, or is it just a few sheets of paper the department heads use for…decoration?

Further according to the IG’s audit, VA officials did not comply with executive orders, federal regulations, or VA’s policies for vetting contractor employees. Apparently, it’s not only that last regarding vetting, but VA officials are insubordinate and routinely ignore existing law and the orders of their boss, the President. Given these persons’ routine disregard of the other items, it’s not clear to me that the VA has any policies with which to not comply.

In any event, it’s long past time.

Veteranos Administratio delende est.

The full IG report can be read here.

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