'It’s worse than ever': Employees of beleaguered Philadelphia VA office vent to visiting lawmakers
PHILADELPHIA — Two months after testifying to Congress for a third time about the Department of Veterans Affairs Philadelphia regional office, this time about a “revolving door of taxpayer waste,” culture of retaliation and improper behavior — like two managers asking workers to pay one’s wife to contact the dead — whistleblower Kristen Ruell said little had changed.
“I’m wondering what problems have been fixed,” she said Monday, as a bipartisan delegation of congressmen showed up to grill managers about the scandal that has engulfed the office, which oversees benefits to more than 800,000 veterans in three states. “I’m seeing the same things, and it’s worse than ever. Employee morale is at an all-time low.”
Nine congressman and one senator inspecting the office Monday said they heard a similar message during a closed-door meeting with Ruell and other employees — very different than the upbeat assessment from managers in a separate meeting.
“We’re going to make some major changes — maybe fire people,” Rep. Ralph Abraham, R-La., said in an interview with Stars and Stripes.
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