VA’s Top HR Official Resigns

October 1, 2012

The top human resources official for the Department of Veterans Affairs has resigned and two other employees were placed on leave after an investigation into two conferences in Orlando found that department conference planners allowed up to $762,000 in unauthorized or wasteful spending and accepted gifts including spa treatments and entertainment.

John Sepulveda, assistant secretary for human resources and administration for the Department of Veterans Affairs, stepped down Sunday, the VA said in a statement.

The resignation followed by the agency’s office of inspector general an investigation into more than $6 million spent by the VA on two training conferences in Orlando last year.

Investigators found that the two training conferences, which included classes for about 1,800 VA human resources employees, fulfilled “valid training needs.”

The IG report found that woeful supervision by senior VA officials resulted in “numerous examples of excessive costs and unnecessary and supported expenditures. In fact, we questioned about $762,000 as unauthorized, unnecessary and/or wasteful expenses.”

Sepulveda “abdicated his responsibilities when he failed to provide proper guidance and oversight to his senior executives in the operations of his organization,” the report said.

The investigation also found that 11 VA employees managing the conferences accepted gifts from contractors seeking to do business or already doing business with the VA.

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