Late Breaking News
VA Conference Spending Raises Questions; Investigators Seek Answers
- Categorized in: Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), News, October 2012
According to VA, its weeklong conferences in Orlando provided “professional development and instruction for almost half of VA’s HR workforce.”
“These nearly 2,000 HR professionals received training to better recruit, train and retain medical professionals, benefits processors, cemetery employees and other VA staff who provide vital care and services veterans have earned and deserve,” according to a VA statement.
VA OIG Inspector George Opfer said in a statement in August that, to date, all indications were that the conferences “were for legitimate training purposes,” but that his office was reviewing the issue. It anticipated releasing a report on its findings this fall. The VA IG launched its investigation in late April 2012 after receiving allegations through the OIG Hotline related to the training.
Shinseki said in a statement in that “misuse of taxpayer funds is completely unacceptable.”
“This event took place over a year ago, and we have already adopted new rules that reflect our continuing commitment to safeguarding taxpayer dollars,” he said in a statement. “While the Inspector General stated on August 13 that all indications are that the conferences were for legitimate training purposes, this would not excuse misconduct or poor judgment that is alleged of even a few individuals.”
Shinseki said he directed an outside independent review of all training policies and procedures and the execution of all training conferences to be completed in 90 days.