Embattled St. Paul VA chief back to work in Minnesota
February 23, 2016 — 7:51am
WASHINGTON -- Kim Graves, the head of the St. Paul Veterans Benefits Office, returned to work this week in Minnesota after VA officials attempted to demote and transfer her.
Graves won an appeal to keep her job with a judge on the Merit Systems Protection Board, a judiciary body that oversees federal employees, earlier this month.
The VA attempted to penalize her after the Inspector General found she and another Philadelphia-based executive abused their positions of power. Graves orchestrated a move to Minnesota from the East Coast, retained her salary for much less work, and gave herself a $130,000 publicly paid moving alllowance.
Deputy Veterans Affairs Secretary Sloan Gibson said Monday that he was still interested in disciplining Graves, but that he had the utmost confidence in her Monday returning to work.
"This has been a considerable distraction," he said, in a conference call with reporters. "It's time for us to put this behind us and get back to the veterans' business."
Gibson added he would use "every tool available" to enforce accountability, but that Graves would likely stay where she was.
A Duluth native who just barely lost Virginia's GOP gubernatorial primary said that politicians have not gone far enough in condemning the left for violence during a rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville. "I think that the left is going to try to use this as an excuse to crack down on conservative free speech," said Corey Stewart. "I think they're going to try to use this as an excuse to remove more historical monuments."