Summary: H.R.1259 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed House amended (03/16/2017)

VA Accountability First Act of 2017

(Sec. 3) This bill revises the authority of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to remove, demote by a reduction in grade and pay, or suspend a VA employee, including a member in a senior executive position, for reasons of performance or misconduct.

A demoted individual shall not be placed on administrative leave during the appeals period and may receive pay only if he or she reports for duty or is approved to use certain accrued unused leave.

An expedited appeals process is established for such VA decisions, including the right to appeal to the Merit Systems Protection Board.

The VA may not remove, demote, or suspend an employee: (1) without the approval of the Special Counsel if the individual seeks corrective action from the Office of Special Counsel based on an alleged prohibited personnel practice, and (2) until a final decision in the case of a whistle-blower complaint.

Whistle-blower protections are revised, including to prohibit the VA from taking any such action against a person who has a pending whistle-blower complaint.

(Sec. 4) The VA shall reduce the federal annuity of an individual removed from the VA Senior Executive Service (SES) who is convicted of a felony that influenced his or her performance while employed in such position.

The VA may: (1) reduce the federal annuity of an individual who was convicted of such a felony and was subject to removal or transfer from the SES but who left the VA before final action was taken; and (2) recoup an award, a bonus, or relocation expenses paid to a VA employee under specified circumstances.

(Sec. 8) The VA may directly appoint qualifying individuals to the positions of Medical Center Director and Director of Veterans Integrated Service Network.

(Sec. 9) The bill revises time periods for adverse action reviews with respect to physicians, dentists, podiatrists, chiropractors, optometrists, registered nurses, physician assistants, and expanded-function dental auxiliaries.

(Sec. 10) The VA shall report to Congress annually on performance awards and bonuses awarded to certain high-level employees.

(Sec. 11) The VA shall: (1) ensure that supervisors are evaluated on actions taken to improve employee performance, and (2) provide supervisors with training on whistle-blower protections.