A notoriously corrupt Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) manager fired in the first day of President Donald Trump’s presidency — to rousing acclaim from veterans who heralded it as a sign of lasting reform — has been returned to work by VA officials after he filed a civil-service protections appeal.
The return of the Puerto Rico hospital director is the latest example of Trump’s reform efforts encountering the entrenchment of what he has called Washington’s swamp, and comes in the same month a court ruled that the VA may not even be able to fire the Phoenix hospital director, who is a convicted felon as a result of job-related misconduct.
“On the morning of January 20, 2017, the Department removed DeWayne Hamlin, the director of the VA Caribbean Healthcare System, from the federal civil service. Mr. Hamlin subsequently appealed his removal to the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), and because of particulars in his case that remains under active litigation, he was brought back to work at VA,” spokesman James Hutton told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“As we have underscored since January 20, President Trump and Secretary [David] Shulkin have made employee accountability at VA a top priority, and we will continue to take appropriate disciplinary actions with our employees. The Secretary in this case was not able to overturn this decision once he was made aware of it. We need this ability in new legislation.”
Hamlin was returned to work at the VA despite the attempted firing of whistleblower Joseph Colon, who alerted officials that Hamlin was arrested for intoxicated driving and found with painkiller pills for which he didn’t have a prescription. Diversion of opiates from the VA system for recreational purposes is a major problem at the VA. (Read more from “Trump Fired a Corrupt VA Official. Then the VA Stepped in and Said Not So Fast” HERE)