Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) bosses fired an employee for reporting a hospital lost 30 of its 88 vehicles and official credit cards intended for the fleet had been misused.
Robert Benkeser, manager at the Greater Los Angeles VA, fired whistle-blower Anthony Salazar after Salazar tried to bring the theft to light. The department convened an “administrative investigation board” (AIB) that resulted in “a letter of counseling” to Benkeser for mismanaging the motor pool. Benkeser then fired Salazar several months later.
he Office of Special Counsel (OSC), a government-wide agency that protects whistle-blowers, said earlier this month that VA blocked Salazar from showing that he was being retaliated against. The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) imposed “an overly rigorous” standard of proof to show prohibited retaliation.
Rep. Mike Coffman, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, demanded Aug. 18 to know what happened to the missing vehicles, how the AIB worked, and the position top VA management took before the MSPB in the matter of Salazar’s job.