Veterans Affairs forced to keep fired medical director

Veterans Affairs forced to keep fired medical director
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The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been forced to employ the former Washington, D.C., medical center director for the time being after the employee was fired for failing "to provide effective leadership at the medical center."

Brian Hawkins was fired in July after it was revealed he had sent sensitive information to his wife's personal email account. 

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However, Hawkins appealed the termination and the federal Merit Systems Protection Board issued a stay on the decision on Aug. 2, allowing Hawkins to build a defense that he was wrongfully let go. 

VA Secretary David Shulkin pushed back against the stay and has prohibited Hawkins from working around patients. 

“No judge who has never run a hospital and never cared for our nation’s veterans will force me to put an employee back in a position when he allowed the facility to pose potential safety risks to our Veterans,” Shulkin said in a statement. 

Hawkins was removed from his director's post last April, after a scathing government report warning that patients at the VA center in Washington, D.C., were at risk due to staffing deficiencies and inventory management. He had been in the post since 2011.