Fired for corruption of the first day of the Trump presidency, a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) manager has been returned to work.
The Puerto Rico hospital director Dewayne Hamlin was fired to celebrations by veterans who saw Trump’s move as a sign of lasting reform and a cleanup of the Washington ‘swamp.’ Unfortunately, the director filed a civil-service protections appeal and working for the VA during the litigation process, despite accusations of gross misconduct.
Employees at Puerto Rico VA hospital has expressed shock and disgust at seeing Hamlin return to work, including Rosayma Lopez. “I do not know why the charges do not include my detail, the bribe he committed when he offered me $305,000 to quit, and other things such as his DUI. I feel that the VA did this soft proposal removal so he could return to the VA,” wrote Lopez to VA lawyers.
The Daily Caller reports:
Hamlin was returned to work at the VA despite the attempted firing of whistleblower Joseph Colon, who alerted officials that Hamlin was arrested for intoxicated driving and found with painkiller pills for which he didn’t have a prescription. Diversion of opiates from the VA system for recreational purposes is a major problem at the VA.
Worse, when a subordinate enraged him by refusing to carry out the wrongful firing, that subordinate, Rosayma Lopez, was offered $300,000 in taxpayer money to quit–which would have been the largest settlement in recent department history. Lopez refused to take the cash.
The incidents were just one of many serious problems at the Puerto Rico veterans hospital Hamlin led, including chronic absenteeism. But even after all of those incidents, former President Barack Obama’s VA Secretary Bob McDonald flew Hamlin to Washington to shape other managers in his image at a “Leaders Developing Leaders” seminar.
Rather than aggressively investigating the case, the VA seems to be reluctant to prosecute Hamlin and has been seen to fold under pressure of litigation in similar cases.