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VA forced to re-hire ‘bully’ director fired for secret wait-list scandal, misconduct

Toby Mathew (LinkedIn Screen Shot)
November 30, 2017

The Daily Caller News Foundation has learned that the former director of the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center in Shreveport, Louisiana, has been re-hired by the VA after being fired for misconduct this past April.

Toby Mathew was fired for misconduct and failure to follow policy; he had been transferred from Shreveport to a VA job in Mississippi in February before his firing.

He was hired in June 2014 and served at his post in Shreveport for almost three years, during which time there were reports that patients weren’t being properly taken care of and that staff were being mistreated and bullied. And, a social worker discovered that there had been a “secret wait-list” of 2,700 names – including 37 veterans who died waiting for proper care, The Washington Free Beacon had reported.

Mathew is now reportedly an associate chief officer at the VA Central Office’s Office of Disability and Medical Assessment, in Houston, Texas, The Daily Caller reported exclusively.

Toby Mathew (Twitter)

The VA confirmed to The Daily Caller that Mathew was re-hired due to a “flawed and outdated civil service personnel system,” and was rehired on Oct. 15 of this year.

“The Department of Veterans Affairs had to take back Toby Mathew, the former director of the Overton Brooks VA Medical Center who was removed from duty in February of 2017, as a result of a flawed and outdated civil service personnel system that makes it difficult to remove employees for legitimate reasons,” said VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour, The Daily Caller reported.

“While VA is returning Mathew, he will not assume his previous duties or perform duties at the Overton Brooks Medical Center. He is being assigned to the Office of Organizational Excellence, where among his duties, he will be focusing on the GAO High Risk List improvement initiative,” Cashour said, The Daily Caller reported.

The VA was going to continue investigating Mathew’s initial firing “with the new authorities provided by the VA Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act,” the report pointed out.

The Daily Called detailed complaints and reports against Mathew, as well as his initial firing:

Mathew was first removed from his position as director of the Overton Brooks VA medical center in Louisiana in February 2017, following a detailed investigation into numerous complaints from employees. He was transferred to a VA job in Mississippi.

An internal VA legal memo from April stated that Mathew was fired on April 13. The memo stated that it was likely Mathew would file an appeal. It appears that his appeal has been successful.

An Office of Accountability Report obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation in July revealed that Mathew engaged in misconduct and mistreated his staff. The OAR was first initiated in October 2016 into Mathew’s leadership at the Overton Brooks VA medical center. According to investigators, Mathew “belittled, demeaned and mistreated VA employees” to such an extent that “the totality of evidence shows that OBVAMC is clouded by a culture of fear.” He also slammed doors and other objects, in addition to engaging in retaliation. He moved an employee’s work station after she revealed to him what others were saying about the work environment.

“You all can cry hostile work environment all you want. Nobody is ever going to believe you,” Mathew said.