A former Department of Veterans Affairs hospital director was paid $86,000 to resign after Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson determined he had retaliated against a whistle-blowing subordinate who reported him for doing little work, The Daily Caller News Foundation found.
Other offenses that preceded the payoff for Japhet Rivera included having sex with a female VA employee and then repeatedly talking about the goings-on to her daughter, who also worked there. When the daughter said she didn’t want to hear it, he wrote that she might have to “live the rest of your life without a mom,” the VA said in Rivera’s firing paperwork.
The VA has repeatedly told Congress in recent years that it doesn’t need new management powers to fire bad workers, but Rivera, a high-level, non-union employee, prevented his firing on a technicality by appealing to the Merit Systems Protection Board. The MSPB is a small federal panel that hears cases involving allegations of violations of civil service employee rights.
Instead of removing the director of the VA Illiana Healthcare System in Danville, Illinois by firing after Gibson’s own investigation found serious misconduct, the VA then paid him the $86,000 lump sum, plus expenses, in exchange for his resignation, while telling no one what had happened.