VA isn’t removing chief of staff over conference scandal

"We are disturbed by the lack of leadership, lack of judgment and wasteful spending outlined by this report, particularly at the highest levels of the department," the lawmakers wrote.

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The VA’s head of human resources, John Sepúlveda, resigned last week ahead of the release of the Inspector General’s report, and the VA said that two career employees have been placed on leave pending review of their conduct.

The IG report found the wasteful spending at two Orlando, Fla., training conferences, for about 1,800 VA employees. The report found VA’s top leadership “failed to provide proper oversight,” allowing lower-level senior officials to spend $280,698 on an excessive contract with a Marriott Hotel for audio-visual services, catering, food and drinks.

The VA said that Shinseki informed Gingrich that “the review of the Orlando conferences was inadequate and that more questions should have been asked prior to authorization.”

But the VA said in its statement that it addressed Gingrich’s conduct already, signaling further action will not be taken.

“At the Secretary’s direction, VA has implemented a comprehensive action plan to revise and strengthen policies and controls on the planning and execution of training conferences as recommended in the final OIG report,” the VA said.