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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on May 25, 2017.
Increasing the Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability to Veterans Act of 2017
(Sec. 2) This bill directs the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to conduct an annual performance plan for each political appointee that is similar to the plan conducted for career appointee Senior Executive Service employees.
Each plan conducted with respect to a VA political appointee shall assess whether such appointee is: (1) recruiting and retaining well-qualified individuals, (2) motivating employees, (3) training and developing employees and preparing them for future leadership roles, and (4) holding managers accountable for addressing performance issues.
(Sec. 3) The supervisor of a probationary VA employee shall determine, during the 30-day period ending on the date on which the probationary period ends, whether the employee has demonstrated successful performance and should continue past the probationary period. No VA employee serving a probationary period may complete such period until the employee's supervisor or another appropriate supervisor has made an affirmative performance determination. If no such determination is made before the end of the 60-day period following such 30-day period, the probationary period shall be deemed to have been completed.
The VA shall notify Congress at least monthly regarding negative determinations.
A successful assessment of a supervisor's probationary period shall include demonstration of management competencies, in addition to the technical skills required for such position.
A supervisor's performance plan shall include feedback on his or her actions during an employee's probationary period.
(Sec. 4) The VA shall ensure that, as a part of a manager's annual performance plan, the manager is evaluated on actions taken to: (1) address poor employee performance and misconduct, and (2) improve or sustain high levels of employee engagement.
(Sec. 5) Before terminating VA employment, an official who has participated personally and substantially during the past year in a VA acquisition that exceeds $10 million shall obtain a written opinion from a VA ethics counselor regarding any restrictions on activities that the official may undertake on behalf of a contractor carrying out a VA contract (covered contractor) during the two-year period after the official terminates VA employment. A covered contractor may not knowingly provide compensation to such a separated VA official during the two-year period after separation unless the contractor determines that the individual has obtained or requested such opinion.