VA Administrator Not Charged for Bribes Dismissal Upheld

We have waited a long time, but we are finally told that there is no real evidence that Sharon Helmen knew anything about the wait times in Phoenix. Helmen, director of the Phoenix Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, was at the center of the wait time controversy. Many claimed that Helmen lied about wait times and her knowledge of the issue that left hundreds of veterans without needed healthcare.
The Merit System Protection Board or MSPB ruled to uphold Helmen’s dismissal. Yet, the MSPB did not find that Helmen was complicit in the wait time scandal for which she was fired. The board said the investigation by the Department of Veteran Affairs had failed to show a link to Helmen.
According to Chief Administrating Judge Stephen Mish, the VA did not prove that Helmen failed to see the long wait veterans went through to get healthcare. There was not, according to Mish, any evidence that Helmen’s action or inaction that contributed to this wait or failed to prevent or change that wait time.
This is the strangest thing that I have ever heard. If she was in charge and we know that there was a wait time problem, how is she not complicit? Even if she was unaware of the problem, this points to a failure to administer and oversee her responsibilities. That there was no action taken by Helmen means she failed to do her job. But this is not the most disturbing part.
The reason that the MSPB upheld Helmen’s dismissal was because, in the course of the investigation, there were other inappropriate behavior discovered. Ms. Helmen had received what AP refers to as “gifts.”
Helmen received a family vacation to Disney for six members of her family. This trip was for eight days and cost $11,000. She also received five tickets to a Beyoncé tickets. Just to mention two of the nine “gifts” Helmen is reported to have received.
These gifts all came from the same source, a one Dennis Lewis of Jefferson Consulting group. It is Mr. Lewis’ business to secure favorable government contracts for his clients. So then, these “gifts” were really “Bribes.” Mr. Lewis bribed Ms. Helmen to get favorable consideration in contract negotiations for his clients.
Here’s a question. Why are these people not in jail?
Well, it is simple. These people apparently do not realize the seriousness of bribery. If they knew the adverse effect that bribery has on our system, culture, and the care that these veterans receive they would be livid. They would throw the book at Helmen and Lewis.
God warns us of the consequence of the bribe. Proverbs 17:23 reads: “A wicked man receives a bribe from the bosom To pervert the ways of justice.” Justice is perverted by bribery. Those who would have most effectively provided services to our veterans were pushed out of the contract by those willing to pervert justice for a profit.
That these people are not in jail shows how far our justice system has sunk.