In his first televised appearance since being sworn in as Veterans Affairs Secretary, David Shulkin promised to hold VA workers more accountable and fire unsatisfactory employees, he said on Fox and Friends.
Fox News host Pete Hegseth, a veteran who happened to be under consideration for the VA Secretary position himself, asked Shulkin what he will do as Veterans Affairs Secretary to make sure that employees are held more accountable to improve the VA.
“The bottom line is the results,” Shulkin said. “We’re going to have to have a workforce that is committed to making sure that the right people are working there.”
“When you have one or two or three people who really aren’t doing their job, they bring everybody down,” he said.
“So the very best thing I know from my private sector experience is you’ve got to deal with that, you’ve got to get them out of the system, because it helps not only the veterans, but the people who work in VA who are trying to do the right thing for veterans,” he continued.
Shulkin said that he will be working with Congress to make sure accountability bills are effective and to advocate for VA employees since they are “the best people in healthcare.”
Hegseth pushed the issue by saying former VA Secretary Bob McDonald was in favor of not going after VA employees because if they felt they could be fired at any moment, they wouldn’t be interested in working for the VA and therefore, the VA would struggle to hire competent employees.
“What I heard the secretary saying is that it’s very important to have a due process. You don’t want to arbitrarily fire people,” Shulkin said in response.
He promised that the organization will have results while still having due process for VA employees.
“Watch us,” he said. “People who don’t show up to work, who do cocaine or who are watching porn at work are going to be fired, because I’m not going to tolerate it, and they’re going to be out of our system. Watch our results there.”
“But remember, we’re talking about the vast, vast majority of our employees are dedicated. They could be working anywhere in healthcare, but they choose to work at the VA. And I’m going to support them and I’m going to be standing behind them.”
Shulkin was unanimously confirmed by the Senate last week to become VA Secretary.