- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Department of Veterans Affairs confirmed Wednesday that it paid a senior manager $288,000 in “relocation payments” when it reassigned her from Washington last year to become director of the agency’s problem-riddled Philadelphia office.

The chairman of the House Veterans Affairs committee called the payment to Philadelphia Director Diana Rubens “outrageous.”

“The government shouldn’t be in the business of doling out hundreds of thousands in cash to extremely well-compensated executives just to move less than three hours down the road,” said Rep. Jeff Miller, Florida Republican, in a statement. “For VA to pay such an outrageous amount in relocation expenses at a time when the department is continually telling Congress and taxpayers it needs more money raises questions about VA’s commitment to fiscal responsibility, transparency and true reform.”

A department spokesman told the Philadelphia Inquirer that federal regulations allow the payment of certain relocation expenses, including the costs of house-hunting, moving, terminating leases, and a per diem rate for meals and temporary housing.

The revelation comes as the Philadelphia office awaits the official results of an investigation by the VA’s Office of Inspector General. The Washington Times reported Wednesday that the report will recommend 35 changes for fixing problems at the Philadelphia regional office, including unannounced checks of the mail room and refresher courses for supervisors on how to properly dispose of documents.

Ms. Rubens, in a memo to her staff, said the Philadelphia office has already taken several steps to fix the problems identified in the report.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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