- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 2, 2014

The central figure in a Department of Veterans Affairs procurement scandal, whom investigators ​accused of ​strong-arm​​ing​ the agency to hire a well-connected firm then lying about it, ​was set to ​begin a new job overseeing contracts for the Department of Energy (DOE) ​starting ​next week​, according to an internal announcement​.

Days before the VA’s Office of Inspector General released a devastating report that found Susan Taylor, deputy chief of procurement for the Veterans Health Administration, “continually lied” about her dealings with FedBid, an internal ​personnel announcement at the DOE ​disclosed ​her new job as director of procurement​.

“Susan is a career SES employee with 21 years of experience in senior acquisition management positions,” the announcement said. On Thursday, a DOE source familiar with the situation, who was not authorized to speak about personnel matters, told The Washington Times that Ms. Taylor will not be working for the agency.​

There’s no indication that DOE officials had any ​hint when they hired her that Ms. Taylor was then the focal point of an active probe ​at another agency. The investigation delved ​into how she and others, including top FedBid executives, ​sought to discredit a VA official who placed a moratorium on reverse auctions in 2012​, according to the report.​

FedBid handles most of the government’s reverse auctions, and the company says it’s helped keep prices down for agencies.

But a VA official, concerned about costs and complaints from suppliers, enacted a moratorium in 2012 that prompted a fierce lobbying campaign ​to help overturn the move, the report said.

Among the report’s findings, Ms. Taylor used her official job title to negotiate a refund on a private vacation trip, leaked non-public information, retaliated against an employee she thought had ratted her out and tried to stymy investigators looking into the FedBid situation.

“Ms. Taylor had complete disregard for the laws, regulations, and VA policies which governed her ethical conduct,” investigators concluded.
The IG sent her case to the Justice Department for potential prosecution on charges of false statements and a conflict of interest, but federal prosecutors declined to pursue the case, the investigators said.

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