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Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss

This article from The Wall Street Journal is troubling, very troubling. In the wake of multiple problems throughout the VA, there was a call for change. Someone needed to put the house in order. As politicians do, promises were made. We were all assured that problems would be fixed. Veterans would get the medical care and benefits they earned through service to our country. A new boss was brought in, a man with corporate “real world” experience. What changes have been wrought since Mr. McDonald assumed his duties as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs? Not many it seems. I will be the first to agree that firing people just for the sake of cleaning house or to make a point does not necessarily improve how an institution or business works. However, one thing that should be pretty obvious is that the tolerance of dishonesty in the management of any organization is hugely detrimental to its ability to function. When you look at the scheduling scandal of a couple of years ago, there is no doubt that managers were engaged in purposeful deceit. Who suffered? Veterans, of course. But the managers got bonuses. And it seems the managers kept their bonuses - and their jobs as well. Three low level employees fired. Those terminations may have been entirely appropriate, but there is no doubt that other more senior people needed to go. Recall that old expression about a fish rotting from the head down? Well, something is still rotten at the VA. More platitudes and promises won’t cut it; something needs to be done.


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