Raking in the cash with relocations

#Middlebury #VeteransPost

While Department of Veterans Affairs chief David Shulkin is doing a good job, there is one place he needs to focus his laser gaze: relocations and the cash paid out to those who move within the VA … and those who pocket the money.

A recent VA Office of the Inspector General (VAOIG) report details – on many pages, covering many years – how one VA employee managed to get piles of money in a relocation he never made.

Let’s call him Dr. A. Years ago, Dr. A applied for a VA job clear across the country. He was paid nearly $20,000 for Temporary Quarters allowance. His boss approved the change of position. Furthermore, Dr. A’s salary was dramatically increased because different geographical regions have varying base salaries depending on the cost of living.

But Dr. A didn’t move. He stayed where he was, at the heftier salary, and telecommuted. Basically, he phoned it in. He did put in two days a week at his home location, while, on paper, living on the other coast. This went on for over three years.

When the jig was finally up, Dr. A claimed not to know he’d been given nearly $20,000 in relocation money (all of it within one month). His wife thought it was his annual bonus.
Technically he was assigned to the other coast, where he also supposedly lived. How then could he claim travel money for traveling to his own home? During the time he was living on one coast and claiming to live on the other, Dr. A also made dozens of trips on the government dime. The VAOIG, as of this writing, has handed the report back to the VA with recommendations.

Dr. A owes the government a lot of money. Unfortunately, he’s likely not the only VA employee cashing in this way.

(c) 2018 King Features Synd. Inc.


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