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Title: VA Accountability Act of 2015
Vote Smart's Synopsis:
Vote to pass a bill that authorizes the Department of Veterans Affairs to remove or demote a department employee based on performance or misconduct.
- Authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to remove or demote a department employee if the Secretary determines the employee’s performance or misconduct warrants such removal or demotion (Sec. 2).
- Authorizes a demoted or removed individual to appeal the decision to the Merit Systems Protection Board within 7 days of the removal or demotion (Sec. 2).
- Requires the board to refer appeals to an administrative judge who shall issue a decision within 45 days of the appeal which is not subject to further appeal (Sec. 2).
- Specifies that if the judge cannot issue a decision within 45 days, the removal or demotion is final (Sec. 2).
- Prohibits an individual who has been demoted from receiving pay, paid leave, bonuses, incentives or benefits during the period of an ongoing appeal (Sec. 2).
- Prohibits the secretary from demoting or removing an individual who has filed a whistleblower complaint until the central whistleblower office has made a final decision with respect to the complaint (Sec. 2).
- Prohibits the secretary from demoting or removing an individual who reports and seeks recourse for another employee’s alleged prohibited personnel practices through the Office of Special Counsel, unless the Office of Special Counsel approves the removal or demotion (Sec. 2).
- Increases the required probationary period for new VA employees from 12 months to 18 months or to the length determined by the secretary (Sec. 3).
- Requires the secretary to reassign each individual employed in a senior executive position every 5 years to a position at a different location that does not include the supervision of the same personnel or programs, unless the secretary submits a waiver to the Committees on Veterans’ Affairs of both chambers of Congress (Sec. 5).
- Decreases annuity benefits for a removed or retired senior executive VA employee who has been convicted of a felony that influenced the individual’s performance while employed in the senior executive position (Sec. 6).
- Prohibits the secretary from placing an employee on administrative leave for more than 14 days during the course of a year, unless the secretary submits a waiver to the VA Committees of both chambers of Congress (Sec. 7).
- Requires the secretary to ensure that the aggregate amount of awards and bonuses paid to employees in a fiscal year does not exceed the following amounts (Sec. 9):
- $300 million for years 2015-2018; and
- $360 million for years 2019-2024.