Over the weekend Rep. Roby relayed assurances she received from CAVHCS Director James Talton that action had been taken to hold employees responsible for wrongdoing, including terminations for cause. Rep. Roby’s office made multiple attempts to verify the terminations, including an inquiry to Acting VA Secretary Sloan Gibson. Eventually, Talton acknowledged to Rep. Roby by phone Tuesday that no terminations in fact took place.
In response to this development, Rep. Roby made the following statement.
“Last week, in a meeting he requested, Director Talton made it clear to me and my District Director that those responsible for falsifying wait list records in Central Alabama were no longer working at the VA, due in part to action he took to remove them.
“I have now learned that wasn’t true. No one has been fired. That means the employees responsible for falsifying wait list records are still working at the VA in Alabama.
“Director Talton apologized for what he called a ‘misunderstanding' over him repeatedly saying employees had been 'relieved of their duties.’ However, the unmistakable tenor of Friday’s conversation and his failure to correct the record after three days of saturating news coverage tell me this wasn’t a misunderstanding at all. I believe I was misled.
"If a Member of Congress can’t get a straight answer from the VA, just think what our veterans go through on a daily basis.
"This kind of cover-your-own-back mentality is precisely the problem at the VA. Remember that the issue at hand is the falsification of records to hide poor performance. For Director Talton to give the false impression that appropriate action had been taken when it actually had not is emblematic of the backward priorities within the VA bureaucracy.
"This breach of trust has caused my office to dig even deeper into what is really going on in Montgomery. I believe there is more to this story."