VA Official Resigns over Wasteful Conference Spending
A senior official with the Department of Veterans Affairs has resigned in the wake of allegations that the agency overspent on human resources conferences.
Assistant Secretary for Human Resources and Administration John Sepúlveda quit his post following an inspector general (IG) investigation into two Florida training conferences costing $6 million.
The IG deemed a large portion of the spending wasteful and excessive, and accused Sepúlveda of abdicating “his responsibilities when he failed to provide proper guidance and oversight to his senior executives.”
Sepúlveda also was accused of lying while under oath during the investigation. One issue was the use of $50,000 in taxpayer money to produce a General George S. Patton parody video. Sepúlveda said he was not aware of the production, but several VA workers testified that he had in fact viewed the videos.
The auditors found hundreds of thousands of dollars in “unsupported” travel expenses, “excessive” hotel expenditures at the conferences, wasteful marketing costs and $154,000 in contractor travel that was paid for by the VA. The report acknowledged that the training conferences themselves were legitimate, and only criticized the excessive and questionable spending.
In addition to Sepúlveda, Alice Muellerweiss, dean of the VA Learning University, and Tonya Deanes, deputy assistant secretary for the Human Resources Management Office, were cited for leadership failures.
To Learn More:
VA Cited for Excessive Conference Spending and ‘Weak’ Leadership (by Eric Katz, Government Executive)
Top Veterans Affairs HR Exec Resigns Ahead of IG Report (by Amanda Pallesch, Government Executive)
Administrative Investigation of VA’s FY 2011 HR Conference in Orlando, FL (VA Office of Inspector General) (pdf)
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