Friday, May 30, 2014


Congratulations America, we just traded this man for a friend of Obama and Biden.  A man who served two combat tours in Vietnam and left half his foot behind there has just resigned as head of the Veteran's Administration. Perhaps he was not the man we needed to head Veteran's Affairs these days but that doesn't negate my earlier argument; we will never find a better man to head the Veteran's Administration. Whatever else may have been going on, I think we can take it as certainty that no man will have his concern for wounded and injured veterans.  If we are lucky we end up with someone like Gorelick.

The general will be replaced by a former politician. But wouldn't it be nice if Mr. Mattis was available?

The problem with that is that the Secretary's support staff is about as scary as a can of tuna. I accept that and maybe we CAN have a VA clinic in Adak staffed by 27 SES, 210 GS-15, 548 GS-14's, 159 doctors, 121 nurses and 2,399 clinical staff. There are plenty of Quonset Huts still there, left over from the War. Throw in the surly cafeteria and catering staff and I think they'll all be deliriously happy to stay in their positions on the government payroll.

The real problem is that nobody can fire the worst, punish them, or transfer them against their wishes. It's a management problem with a solution. An elegant solution might be that all staff must use the VA for all medical and make it an instant firing offense to "jump" the line.


Buck said...

Wow... you're right on top of things. I just finished my second cup and haven't even LOOKED at the news yet.

NavyDavy said...

With all due respect for Mattis and other 4 star GOFOs that know how to kill and break things wouldn't it be better to have someone that knows how to fix people and administer hospitals at the head of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)? Maybe someone that has headed one of our military hospitals like Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Good enough for the President and members of Congress. Unfortunatly or typically from this administration we will get a political butt swab whose first order of business will be to convene a committee to study the problem.

HMS Defiant said...

Working within a non-functioning bureaucracy is very difficult. Even functional bureaucracies accomplish very little (NASA) but the real test is the USPS. It is literally impossible to fire anyone, incentivize them or make them do their jobs if they don't want to. You may well be right though and there is a better way.

If you remember, the Secretary of Defense or Army Chief of Staff fired the poor 2 star that was running Walter Reed about 6 years ago because the buildings were falling down around the wounded soldiers being treated there......In a facility that had been BRAC'd and which had no budget at all to spend fixing up buildings because the plan was already running to shut it down and transition to Bethesda. Still, the Commander got fired.

The thing I hear about Mattis is that he motivates people and it might be that he could open a clinic in Adak for poor performers or just send them all to provide patient services to terrorists in Gitmo. He has a rep. I honestly cannot think of anybody who could turn around the VA system while working within it using nothing but the tools provided by HR. I think that bus left the depot a long time ago.