Veterans Appeals Judges Take Heat Over Emails

     WASHINGTON – Three Board of Veterans’ Appeals attorneys and two board judges are being called on for racist and sexist emails, the Department of Veterans Affairs said.
     Deputy Secretary of Veterans Affairs Sloan D. Gibson filed a complaint against the judges with the Merit Systems Protection Board, and the VA proposed disciplinary actions against the attorneys, according to a Tuesday statement.
     The VA employees are cited for “misconduct based on information received as part of an Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigation that revealed a pattern of inappropriate emails that were racist and sexist in tone,” the announcement stated.
     Early in the investigation the VA assigned the five to non-adjudicative duties to protect veteran’s rights, and is reviewing the appeals they handled for unjust influence based on the conduct. None has been found so far, the agency noted.
     “These actions are reprehensible and completely counter to our values,” Gibson said. “It undermines the trust the American people place in the VA to serve our veterans and has no place in this department. We will not tolerate it.”
     The VA proposed disciplinary actions in mid-January against two of the attorneys. One attorney retired, and one resigned from federal service while the actions were pending. VA proposed a lesser administrative penalty against one attorney, the agency said.

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