VA whistleblower protection office is a 'dumpster fire,' employee says

An employee in the VA's Office of Accountability and Whistleblower Protection is calling for whistleblower protection from another government agency and Congress, according to a USA Today exclusive.

Brandon Coleman, a whistleblower program specialist, filed a request for protection July 31 with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel and with Congress, according to the report. Mr. Coleman conducts outreach on behalf of the office and provides information on policies and programs to managers at VA facilities.

"I no longer feel confident referring whistleblowers to come to OAWP for help," he told USA Today. "Something's wrong with the office, and that's why it was time to come forward. This needs to be fixed."

In his complaint, he said the office's leader, VA Assistant Secretary Tamara Bonzanto, DNP, ignored a request to meet and discuss his program. He alleges his program was subsequently put on hold and then eliminated. He called the workplace "toxic" and a "dumpster fire," according to the report.

The office is also under investigation by the VA inspector general, related to concerns over the independence of investigations it conducts into whistleblower claims, according to the report.

The VA told USA Today it has a backlog of complaints and Dr. Bonzanto was hired to restructure the organization to eliminate these issues. 

Read the full story here.


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