VA Awarded More Than $177 Million in Fiscal 2015 Bonuses

The average individual performance award for senior executives was around $10,000.

The Veterans Affairs Department paid out more than $177 million in bonuses in fiscal 2015 -- $3.3 million of which went to senior executives, according to a USA Today report.

The average bonus for a VA senior executive in fiscal 2015 was around $10,000, the newspaper reported, about what it was in fiscal 2014. In fiscal 2014, the average individual SES performance award at VA was $9,450, according to data from the Office of Personnel Management. That amount was below the governmentwide average of $10,560 for SES bonuses that year. In fact, for fiscal 2014, VA was among the least generous agencies when it came to individual SES performance awards.

But even within that context, bonus payments can look bad, especially for a department that continues to struggle with mismanagement and high-profile missteps. Dr. Darren Deering, the former chief of staff at the Phoenix VA Medical Center, who was fired in June for failing to provide sufficient oversight during the wait-time scandal, received a $5,000 bonus for fiscal 2015 in February, according to the USA Today report. Jack Hetrick, the former Veterans Integrated Service Network director for Region 10, who retired in February shortly after receiving a notice of proposed removal, received a $12,705 bonus in January. The VA had substantiated misconduct in February by Hetrick related to a subordinate’s improper drug prescriptions for Hetrick’s wife.  

The VA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the bonus data.

Most of the fiscal 2015 bonuses went to non-senior executive employees working in the field, the VA told USA Today. Nurses received the largest percentage of the total performance awards, according to the data, with an average individual bonus of $952, the paper reported.

“We cannot speak to the bonuses that executives may have received at the VA as we do not represent those workers,” said J. David Cox Sr., president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents a large chunk of the VA workforce. “That said, bonuses for frontline health care providers and other rank-and-file employees are vital for retaining employees who might otherwise leave due to uncompetitive salaries.” Cox added that “neglecting to reward or recognize the modestly-paid workers who do the necessary work of caring for veterans in order to finance big bonuses for top executives is wrong.”

Bill Valdez, president of the Senior Executives Association, said that bonuses are a part of the VA’s performance system for all employees, and if Congress wants to change that, “they need to come up with another way to reward employees.” He said that linking the payment of bonuses to “unrelated” controversies “is wrong,” pointing out that the “vast majority” of department employees are “high-performing.” He also noted that the VA secretary signs off on senior executive bonuses.  

The VA, the second-largest department in the federal government, has a workforce of more than 330,000 employees, and approximately 350 career senior executives. Roughly 189,000 employees received fiscal 2015 bonuses, according to the USA Today report.

In September, Congress passed a short-term fiscal 2017 continuing resolution that also included the Military Construction-VA appropriations legislation. That law contains language that would prevent department supervisors who commit a prohibited personnel action from receiving bonuses for one year, and force affected employees to pay back any bonuses received during that time period.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.