oversight

Review of the Circumstances Surrounding the Reemployment of a Veteran Administration Employee After His Discharge From Active Military Service

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1971-02-26.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

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                      COMPTROLLER     GENERAL     OF     THE   UNITED      STATES
                                    WASHINGTON.    DC.     80548
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    B-171434
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    Dear Mr. Cha!imIn' ..
         In accordance with your request of November 25, 1970,
    and subsequent arrangements made with your office on Decem-
    ber 7, 1970, we have reviewed the circumstances  surrounding



    his military training   and experience and 5ducation.      We dis-
    cussed this matter with Mr. Stahl and appropriate     officials
    of the VA and the Civil Service Commission, as you suggested,
    and reviewed pertinent   records and other data made available
    to us by your office   and VA.

           We conclude that, from the time Mr. Stahl was reemployed
    until he resigned on December 3, 1969, VA did not make any
    special effort     to better utilize  his skills,    training,  and ed-
    ucation at the Seattle VA Hospital.       Our review showed, how-
    ever, that during this period there were not 'any positions
    available    at the Seattle VA Hospital   in which his services
    could have been better utilized      and still    have allowed him to
    remain a full-time     student at the University     of Washington.
    Our findings    are discussed below.
          On May 12, 1969, Mr. Stahl notified     the personnel office
    at the Seattle VA Hospital  that he would be released from ac-
    tive duty in September 1969.    In his letter    he stated:
          'I*** I am in this letter    notifying      you of                         my intent
          to request restoration     to my old position                              in the
          Diet Service or to a position        to which I                           am quali-
          fied by virtue   of my military      training   or                         civilian
          training  and experience."
          'I*** I hold the rank of Captain in the Army Medical
          Service Corps and the duty MOS [Military   Occupational
          Specialty]  of Nuclear Medical Science Officer."

         By letter  dated May 20, 1969, the Acting Personnel Offi-
    cer at the Seattle VA Hospital  informed Mr. Stahl that VA


                              50 TH ANNIVERSARY                ‘1921- 1971
B-171434 /



planned to reinstate    him in his former position.  This letter
did not indicate   whether VA would consider Mr. Stahl for any
other position,   nor was Mr. Stahl requested to provide an up-
dated Personal Qualification    Statement (SF-171) showing the
experience and education thdt he had acquired after he left
VA employment in 1965.

      Mr. Stahl furnished  you copies of his May 1969 corre-
spondence with VA; however, his personnel records at the hos-
pital  contained neither  copies of, nor Peference to, such
correspondence.
      Officials of the hospital    personnel office     told us that
they did not recall whether Mr. Stahl was considered for any
other positions  more suitable   to his qualifications       in May
1969; however, these officials     advised us that the only posi-
tion at the hospital  requiring    a degree in physics (Mr. Stahl's
major field of study in college)     was filled    at the time
Mr. Stahl requested reinstatement.

      Mr. Stahl told us that, shortly     after his discharge on
September 11, 1969, he had visited     the hospital    and had met
with the Chief, Dietetic    Service, and officials     from the per-
sonnel office   to seek a full-time   night position,     because at
that time he had been accepted to attend the University          of
Washington.    Mr. Stahl stated also that he was informed by
personnel officials    that full-time  night positions     were not
available.

       Officials     of the hospital   personnel office    informed us
that they recalled       meeting with Mr. Stahl in September 1969
and discussing       with him the requirements    for reinstatement,
but they did not recall whether Mr. Stahl had inquired               about     '
a full-time      night position.     They stated, however, that, had
he requested a full-time         day position  in dietetic    service,    he
would have been given that position.

     Subsequent to his meeting with hospital    officials,
Mr. Stahl requested reinstatement   to his former position as
food service worker in dietetic   service and on September 29,

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           B-171434


           1969, was reinstated.     Mr. Stahl informed us that he had re-
           quested, and had been granted, the afternoon     shift    (2:30 to
           7 p.m.), because he had planned to attend morning classes at
           the university.     After his reinstatement,  Mr. Stahl furnished
           the VA personnel office    an updated personal qualification
           statement that showed that he had experience     in administra-
           tive and procurement matters while in the military.
                   In a letter     to you dated November 21, 1970, Mr. Stahl
           contended that he had been denied a normal promotion--from
           the part-time       position   held prior to his military     service--to
           a full-time     position     when he was reemployed.     He cited a sec-
           tion of the Federal Personnel Manual relating            to reemployment
           of persons inducted into the Armed Forces, which states,                in
           part, that the person:
                 "should be restored     in such a manner as to give him
                 such status in his employment as he would have en-
                 joyed if he had continued in such employment con-
                 tinuously   from the time of his entering   the armed
                 forces until    the time of his restoration   to such
                 employment."
                   Our. interpretation     of pertinent     sections of the Federal
           Personnel Manual is that a transfer            from part-time     status to
           full-time      status is not considered a promotion.           An official
           of the Civil Service Commission confirmed our interpretation.
           Furthermore,       records at the.Seattle      VA Hospital    showed that
           on September 23, 1969, VA converted a full-time               position     in
           dietetic     service to two part-time        positions   in order to re-
           instate    Mr. Stahl.       On December ~5, 1969, 2 days after
           Mr. Stahl's resignation,         VA reconverted      the two part-time
           positions      to one full-time    position.

                  On the basis of Mr. Stahl's   statement that he had re-
           quested the afternoon   shift so that his job would not inter-
           fere with his morning classes at the university,          VA's conver-
           sion of a full-time   position   to two part-time     positions    so
           that he could be reinstated,     and the inapplicability        of the
           section of the Federal Personnel Manual referred          to by

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Mr. Stahl, it appears that        VA did not deny him a normal. promo-
tion when he was reinstated        to a part-time position.

       We were unable to find any evidence at the hospital                 that
the personnel office         had made any attempts to better utilize
Mr. Stahl's       services during the period of his reemployment
 (September to December 1969).            To determine wh,ether Mr. Stahl's
services could have been better utilized,                we compared his
training     and experience with qualification            standards for posi-
tions available         at the hospital    during nhe period of his reem-
ployment.      We identified     full-time     positions     for two nursing
assistants,       a purchasing agent, and a procurement clerk,             that
were filled       during this period,      for which Mr. Stahl might have
qualified;     however, nursing assistants           were required    to work
rotating     shifts     and the other two positions        were for daywork
only.      As stated previously,        Mr. Stahl was seeking a full-time
night position        so that he could attend day classes at the uni-
versity.      Also, the hourly wage of all of these positions               was
lower than the hourly wage of his position                in dietetic   ser-
vice.

       Since Mr. Stahl's        resignation,      the VA hospital    in Seattle
has initiated      procedures to assist discharged veterans experi-
enced in-medical       specialities        to obtain employment that uti-
lizes such experiences.            The VA hospital      obtain's from VA's Med-
ical Discharge Specialty           Listing    the names and addresses of
veterans returning        to the area and sends each veteran a letter
explaining     that he can find-out          about employment opportunities
with the Seattle VA Hospital by completing                and returning   an
enclosed postcard.          If the veteran is interested          and if a posi-
tion is available       in his special-ty,        the veteran is requested
to prepare a personal qualification               statement and to visit     the
hospital    for an interview.
        As of December 21, 1970, the Seattle VA Hospital     had sent
letters    to 135 returning    veterans and, as a result, had em-
ployed one returning      Vietnam veteran as a dental assistant.
      We have not obtained       formal   comments from VA on the re-
sults of our review.

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         We plan to make no further   distribution    of this report
   unless copies are specifically   requested,     and then we shall
   make distribution  only after your agreement has been obtained
   or public announcement has been made by you concerning the
   contents of the report.

                                      Sincerely   yours,



                          Assistant   Comptrolier  General
                                      of the United States

  J( The Honorable Olin E. Teague, Chairman
c( Committee on Veterans'   Affairs
 1 House of Representatives             /+ 346”