06/27/2013 02:23 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Thank You Note for VBA Workers

Government workers don't get much respect these days, and are sometimes the targets of unfair abuse. That's not right.

In particular, I've been working with people from the Department of Veterans Affairs, mostly with workers from Veterans Benefits Administration, VBA.

A lot of work should've been started the middle of the last decade, but only since 2009 has VBA been able to start catching up at an impressive rate. That means developing new systems, and means that currently, claims processors are putting in five months worth of mandatory overtime.

It's not easy, requiring a lot of culture change, and moving to new systems while providing continuous veterans support via the old systems. This is difficult under the best of conditions, and worse when taking the verbal equivalent of friendly fire. That's like trying to remodel the plane you're flying on while your own side's shooting at you.

However, that story isn't being reported, so VBA workers get a lot of unfair crap, and that's not right.

I bear witness to the good work these guys are doing, first hand.

In 2009 I participated in a VBA employees' competition, where they suggested business process changes to expedite claims processing. In particular, I voted up what's become Disability Benefits Questionnaires, DBQs. I'm now quietly working with VA folks to improve their use.

A nerd's gotta do what a nerd's gotta do, so, for the record, I bear witness to the good work VBA people are doing, and will continue to follow through.