2 min read

VA Reports Detail Misconduct By IT Officials

Abuse of authority, nepotism, and other HR violations are among the findings of two reports issued by the Department of Veterans Affairs inspector general.
Martinez, the inspector general report says, violated federal acquisition regulations in the process of helping Nash get hired at ESS, which was at the time positioning itself for a contract to protect personal information at the agency. Maginnis skirted proper procedure to get Nash hired, the report found.

During the time that Nash oversaw the ESS contract, the report notes, Martinez began assigning her executive assistant duties unrelated to the contract, and then hired Nash in November 2007 in a newly created position at the VA despite more qualified applicants.

In a second report, the inspector general found that Duncan, Howard's former executive assistant and (according to Howard) "de facto chief of staff," improperly hired more than a dozen friends, family members, and friends of family at the VA, including some at salaries above the going rate. Once hired, the report found, Duncan used her authority to give cash awards to many of them.

In a letter to the inspector general, current CIO Baker noted that he has since established new procedures for accountability in human resources and incentives. Baker concurred with the findings in both inspector general reports, which include sending bills to Duncan's family and friends for reimbursement of funds improperly paid for their education.

Reached at his new job at federal contractor Femme Comp, Howard declined to comment on the inspector general reports.

Martinez' attorney Kevin Owen said that Martinez is "looking forward to presenting a defense about the allegations when she has a chance to go through the allegations in full." Maginnis and Duncan didn't reply to e-mails seeking comment.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on e-health and the federal stimulus package. Download the report here (registration required).