Where There is Smoke, There is Fire. But…………
There is no dispute something unacceptable at the Veterans Health Administration happened concerning patient scheduling. However, we noticed the sudden plethora of whistle-blowers coming forward after the initial claim stemming from a retired Doctor who seemingly failed to raise the issue while employed by the Veterans Health Administration. When listening to Congressional testimony, we could not help but notice that it appears some of the whistle-blowers may have been the subject of disciplinary action or administrative investigations of varying degree; actions appearing to precede dates of disclosure. Of course, the agency cannot release information defending against whistleblowers who may have a personal agenda, thus putting the Agency at a significant disadvantage in the media.
Feedback from field practitioners concerning this subject indicates a new “fad” may be developing. In short, employees facing disciplinary actions or administrative investigations are claiming, or levying threats, they are whistleblowers. Whether an employee caught sleeping, engaged in time card fraud, or a critically non-performing employee, these types of employees claim, without regard to merit, they are whistleblowers in an attempt to divert agency action and attention from misconduct or performance issues. Another type of “whistleblower” emerging is what we refer to as a “me too” whistleblower. Typically, this type offers up unrelated claims, usually limited to personal interests, tacking on to the subject of the legitimate claim. One of the video’s provided below may be such a situation. Can you spot it?
The message? While clearly some employees are engaged in whistleblowing, not all whistleblowers may be created equal. Once again, we do not dispute any whistleblower claims as such a determination is reserved to specific governmental functions and public opinion.
***Special Note*** After publication of this post, we received a few negative e-mails. However, more interestingly, we received e-mails and a phone call from verified whistle-blower who praised our attention to the subject matter. They expressed concern over whistle-blowers who try to use the process for their own personal gain in response to legitimate disciplinary or performance issues.