Cannibalistic Downgrading

Veterans Administration Conducting Orgiastic Downgrades

A new and dangerous trend is emerging in the Veterans Administration. In what can only be described as a cannibalistic orgy of position downgrading, Classification Specialists throughout the Agency are downgrading positions across the entire occupational spectrum. Many of the positions targeted for downgrade are already classified one grade below same or similar positions located in other federal agencies with salaries far below private sector equivalent positions.  All reports from inside the Agency indicate morale has been “catastrophically” impacted and both recruitment and retention are problematic as a direct result of the downgrade efforts. The targeted positions include (but not limited to) Service Chief’s, Police Chief’s,  Criminal Investigator’s,  Assistant Service Chief’s, Human Resources Specialists, Clerks, and Program Support Assistants to name just a few.

One ironic aspect of the downgrades is that many of the same Classification Specialists conducting the downgrades, are downgrading positions they themselves classified, raising the question, did they lie then or are they lying now?  Authority and direction for the downgrades is not only not clear, it is unknown and Classification Specialists are operating like KGB operatives when questioned.  This may partly be the result of the classification positions being consolidated to a regional level.  Since that time, they appear to be “out of control” and beyond accountability as if no one is in charge.

Union efforts at stopping the downgrades have been minimal at best. Appears efforts at stopping the downgrades will need to originate with employees.

Update March 5, 2015:  Apparently the new Secretary of the VA agreed with our article.  A lot of attention has been paid to the the downgrade issues and he ordered a moratorium on the insanity. You can read more by clicking here to view a pre-formatted Google search that will call up relevant articles. 

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3 comments for “Cannibalistic Downgrading

  1. Anonymous
    July 24, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    I feel very sorry for whoever wrote this article..they are very, very misinformed. Title 5 CFR 511.612. And the fact that no employees lose their pay from a downgrade is noted. The main reason classifiers are different on specific classification is that they are being bullied to classify to the grade management wants them to..Some abide by the law and other cave because they are being bullied. Please read the most recent article by the Huff Post dated July 10, 2014 and the 30 some affiliates who also ran the story.

  2. Patricia Burton
    March 4, 2014 at 8:14 pm

    In your story concerning the “Cannibalistic downgrading” at the Dept of Veterans Affairs, I would like to inform you that not only is the Union doing nothing, they are “in bed” with the VA concerning the downgrades. Our unit (Civilian Payroll Technicians) filed a national grievance when we were downgraded. We were promptly “sold down the river” by our Union attorney Ms. Ami Pendergrass. Our grievance was basically withdrawn. We were not notified of the action until AFTER 30 days. As far as employees fighting this. We have gone through all the steps short of filing with OPM which at this point is an obvious waste of time. We have re-written position descriptions which when submitted classification basically called the payroll techs and our managers liars. We filed a rebuttal which was submitted and has basically faded away. Payroll technicians who can get other jobs are doing just that. Morale is not catastrophically impacted…IT IS IN THE TOILET! We were illegally downgraded and workload quadrupled. There is an appeal from 2006 that states that ALL federal payroll technicians will be GS 8. All agencies are abiding by this rulling with the exception of the Dept of Veterans Affairs. Does anyone think to ask how they can get away with the illegal shenanigans? We have and in return have gotten ziltch. Those that can move out of state to persue other federal options are moving. Those of us who cannot resort to that option are continuing to try to maintain some sort of work ethic and pray for retirement age. BTW, your story neglected to say that the overwhelming majority of the employees downgraded are the ones who do the majority of the grunt work..GS 7 down. Isn’t that interesting?

  3. md2tn
    February 21, 2014 at 10:55 am

    What does one do, when they have a Union that is not as educated? Go to OPM and file a class appeal? OSC? EEO? It becomes exhausting being labled a ‘troublemaker’ and kicked like the proverbial dog. You just want to throw in the white towel and shout “I give”

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