The $288,000 relocation bonus paid to Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Director Diana Rubens was about $275,000 more than the agency’s average relocation award, The Washington Times has learned.
In 2011, the VA paid average bonuses of $13,047 to relocate personnel, according to agency figures provided to the Times. In 2010, the average bonus was $11,951.
Ms. Rubens received the huge payments when the VA relocated her from Washington to Philadelphia last summer to take over the embattled office, where an Inspector General has found dozens of problems to correct.
“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, Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
In a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald, Mr. Miller said his panel is investigating the payments. He said the VA “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.”
“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,” Mr. Miller wrote. “That’s why our committee is investigating this matter and why we have asked the VA inspector general to do the same. Our investigation will continue until all of the facts are at hand, including who at VA headquarters authorized this payment and their rationale for doing so.”