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VA might 'discipline' six employees…but won't name them or say what they did

Department of Veterans Affairs acting secretary Sloan Gibson pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, July 24, 2014, before the House Veterans' Affairs Committee to outline his actions for restoring trust to the beleaguered agency. (AP Photo) AP Photo

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Tuesday that it has "proposed a series of disciplinary actions against six employees" at VA facilities in Wyoming and Colorado who were involved in the veterans health care scandal.

But most of these actions will take the form of "proposed suspensions, a demotion, and admonishments."

The Department of Veterans Affairs, run recently by Acting Secretary Sloan Gibson, may soon discipline six VA employees involved in the health care scandal. But who are they and what did they do? The VA is not saying. (AP Photo)

And while VA said these possible actions are an attempt to rebuild the trust of veterans, VA declined to say who the employees are, and what each of them did.

Instead, VA told TheBlaze to contact the VA's Freedom of Information Office for this information. FOIA requests can famously take months or even years before a reply is sent, and these replies are often redacted.

Upon submission of a request to the VA's FOIA office, TheBlaze received an email reply saying a response should be expected "within 5 business days."

Despite VA's unwillingness to name names, three of the officials can be identified based on information in VA's release. The VA said it has "proposed disciplinary action against the director of the Rocky Mountain Network and the director and chief of staff of the Cheyenne VA Medical Center."

The director of the Rocky Mountain Network is Ralph T. Gigliotte, according to that facility's June 2014 newsletter.

The website of the Cheyenne facility says its director is Cynthia McCormack, and her chief of staff is Jerry Zang.

The language in the VA's statement indicates that "disciplinary action" against these three senior employees will not involve removing them from the VA. "[P]roposed penalties for other supervisors include two proposed suspensions, a demotion, and admonishments," the VA said.

But the VA did indicate that it is looking at firing two unnamed employees at the Rocky Mountain Network and Cheyenne facilities who were involved in the scandal:

"Certain supervisors in these facilities were found to have personally manipulated data, instructed their subordinates to manipulate data, and withheld accurate information from their superiors," the VA said. "VA today proposed two of the supervisors be removed from federal service."

It's unclear what process the VA needs to follow to fire the two employees, and what recourse or appeal process the employees might be able to use.

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